Reality Sets In

By October 7, 2003, 4:00 pm
The Golf Channel debuted The Big Break Tuesday night, its original series in which 10 scratch golfers from around the country compete in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges. The last man standing wins the big break of his golfing career- exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
Flying in from all over the country, the competitors gathered in a conference room in Detroit to meet the competition and get their first glimpse of the strange golfing trip that lay ahead.
A four-hour bus ride from Detroit north up to Gaylord, Mich., afforded each contestant a chance to size up the competition and to get to know each other on a more personal level. Favorite golf tales were shared and there were plenty of laughs. But this was of course just the beginning.
The Big BreakThe 10 men finally arrived at what would be their home for the duration of the competition' a five-room log cabin on a secluded dirt road - not exactly what several had in mind.
We were pretty surprised to see it, to be honest with you, said Garrett Garland, the 56-year-old business executive from Northridge, Cal.
Others were not as disappointed.
I was just glad it wasnt a tent, said a relieved Anthony Sorentino.
Following a long day of travel, the group enjoyed a barbeque and a few beers before calling it a night. Dawn would signal the beginning of the skills challenges that would ultimately whittle the group down to one.
I think I got up earlier than usual. I normally dont get out of bed, said an excited Jeff Brown, 40, an operations manager with the Federal Aviation Administration. My wife, she has to kick, prod, do anything she can to get me out of bed. But this morning, man, I was up ready to go.
Arriving early at the TreeTops Resort, the competitors received their best news of the day from co-host Katherine Roberts - the first show was going to allow them to get their feet wet and no one would face elimination.
That, of course, was met with unanimous approval from the gang of would-be tour professionals.
The first challenge required each man to hit a knock-down shot - the goal being to shatter a small, square plane of glass, sitting on a pole about four feet high and 40 yards away.
Quickly the shots began to fly, each contestant taking dead aim at their target. And within seconds, the sound of breaking glass echoed through the practice range. With an errant swing, Mark Farnham had inadvertently broken Jeff Browns glass.
Thank you Mark, my friend, responded an obviously delighted Brown, who despite not breaking his own glass, was declared the winner of the challenge.
The Big BreakThe only player unable to break his glass was Steve Duemig. The 49-year-old radio host from Tampa, Fla., got the last laugh when he walked up to his target and threw a ball through the glass, the sound of which must have relieved a good bit of stress.
No one wants to finish last, but I did, said a not-too upset Duemig. I can hit that shot all day long, its just I didnt hit the glass, thats all. But, you know, its kind of embarrassing.
The final challenge of the day facing the competitors was a 400-yard tee shot down a narrow, deserted, paved road to a large red wall at the end. The first man to hit the target got the keys to a brand new Club Car golf cart.
As a group they did not perform well. Most of the competitors shots drifted left and into the trees that lined the road. Randy Blocks tee ball was the only one that even sniffed the target.
I thought for sure someone would get it, mentioned Sorentino about the Club Car that was up for stake. I was just hoping it would be me.
With their skills challenges over and the players more aware of what to expect, the group returned to the cabin knowing the next day things were going to get serious.
Someone was going to go home.
The laughing and the joking, to me, it comes to an end, said the outgoing Charles Calhoun. Today was fun, entertaining, but its time for it to come to an end, because this is serious business. And this is serious to me.
Be sure to tune in to The Golf Channel next Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as the first competitor will fail to capitalize on what could have been his Big Break.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.