Team Dynamic Brings High Drama

By February 28, 2006, 5:00 pm
The Big Break V - HawaiiAfter three weeks and two eliminations, the remaining nine competitors gathered at the Big Break rock to receive instructions on how the day was to unfold.
And even though two players had been dismissed from the show, their mood of the final nine was still upbeat despite the growing emotional toll the challenges were beginning to take.
Oh were friends and well be friends no matter what, spoke Becky Lucidi on the dynamics of the nine competitors. But they want to beat me just as bad as I want to beat them.
Starting off with a Mulligan Challenge, the ladies were split into three groups of three and were told that along with winning a mulligan to use in the Immunity Challenge, Golfsmith had agreed to throw a $1,000 gift certificate into the mix for the three winners.
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During the Immuntiy Challenge, the players had to negotiate around a cluster of trees.
The teams were as follows: Team ACC - Ashley Prange, Kristina Tucker and Kim Lewellen; the Laughing Roos ' Julie Wells, Divina Delasin and Dana Lacey; Team Fun ' Becky Lucidi, Katie Ruhe and Jeanne Cho.
A group of barrels were lined up right on the beach and each team tried to chip as many balls as they could through the top of the barrel in just 60 seconds. The barrels had a 5 point, 3 point and 1 point value and the highest total team score would win.
After two rounds, the three teams were close and it was anybodys ball game with only 60 seconds left to add to their point totals. With a late 3 point shot by Prange, Team ACC took the title with 12 points and with it the mulligan and the Golfsmith gift cards.
With the three teams staying intact, they now all faced a three-tiered Immunity Challenge. One player from each squad would hit a tee shot and try to land the ball in a large rectangular area down the fairway in as few attempts as possible. The groups then moved to a spot where they would have to attempt a trouble shot from behind cluster of trees to try and land safely on the green. Finally, the last player on each team had to try and drain a 20-foot putt, also in the fewest amount of attempts. The team with the lowest total number of attempts after all three locations would be safe from elimination.
Immunity is gold! I mean, its your get out of jail free card, said Wells on the importance of each Immunity Challenge. Its everything in this game.
From the tee box, Lucidi got things underway for Team Fun but had trouble finding the zone and finished with four attempts. Tucker of Team ACC went second and needed just two tries to hit the target, followed by Wells from the Laughing Roos who found the landing area on her third attempt.
Getting set up behind the trees for the second location, Team Fun hit first and team member Ruhe luckily found the green on just her second effort. Lucky being the word, as both Team ACC and the Laughing Roos each failed to find and stay on the putting surface resulting in the maximum five attempts for both sides. The score now stood Team Fun ' 6; Team ACC ' 7; Laughing Roos ' 8, as they headed into the putting portion of the Immunity Challenge.
Divina Delasin of the last place Roos hit first from a mark about 20 feet from the hole but watched as it slid by the hole. Her second effort, however, dropped in the side door which instantly made her team the leaders in the clubhouse with 10 points. Needing to get a putt to drop in three tries or less, Prange of Team ACC failed to convert and her team was now going to the Elimination round. That left Jeanne Cho of Team Fun with the opportunity to seal her and her teammates fate. Three attempts or less and they would win the immunity, while four would forge a tie and a playoff with the Laughing Roos.
But after Cho saw her second putt lip out, the tension suddenly was turned up a notch as they realized that it may have been her best chance.
I think it is so much harder watching and having it out of your hands than hitting the shot. Id rather, definitely rather, be hitting the shot, said Chos teammate Lucidi on the tension of having to watch from the sidelines.
Indeed the lip out turned out to be the closest they would come and handed the Laughing Roos the Immunity while sending themselves into the Elimination round with Team ACC.
Its either perform or dont perform. Youre either staying or going home, said Prange as the six players met with co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks for the Elimination Challenge.
Hitting from three different distances - 150-yards, 160-yards and 170-yards, the ladies again would try to land their shots inside a 40-foot circle painted around the flagstick. The person who accumulated the most attempts from all three locations would become the third unfortunate contestant to be ousted from the show.
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At the end of the day, Katie Ruhe was unable to hit the shots necessary to stay on the show.
Prange set the tone in Rd. 1 by making it on her first try, followed by Cho and Lucidi (two attempts), Lewellen (three), Tucker (four). Ruhe found the water on her second shot and struggled to an opening five.
When I hit that second shot into the water, it literally felt like I was having an out of body experience and everything around me was coming completely undone, recalled Ruhe on the pressure to stay alive in the competition.
Round 2 again found Prange on the mark as she hit the target in two. Tucker bounced back after a four and made it on her first shot to move into a tie for second with Lewellen, who hit the zone in two for a total of five after the second round. Lucidi joined Ruhe in last place as both had seven.
Anything can happen at this point, said Cho about the third and final round of shots. Things can turn around so fast here!
And just like that, Pranges good groove was lost as she stumbled to a five to finish the Elimination Challenge with a total of eight attempts. Lewellen, Tucker and Cho all followed and all came in under Prange with seven and were officially safe from going home. That left Ruhe and Lucidi to battle it out.
Lucidi quickly let Prange off the hook by missing her first shot but rebounded nicely with her second shot which found the target, giving her a grand total of nine for the challenge.
I took a deep breath and stood back because all I could do at that point was watch, said Lucidi on the unfolding drama. Its so much worse than having to hit the shot.
Ruhe looked as if shed hit a homerun on her first effort as the ball hit the green and rolled right up to the hole only to see it continue to roll past the cup and out of the target zone. It was now down to one last shot ' hit the zone and force a playoff or miss and say aloha to the her fellow contestants. Her shot had the line but checked up on the front of the green and ultimately came up short.
This literally feels like somebody reached in and grabbed my heart and just ripped it out of my chest, said a tearful Ruhe, who now had become the third competitor to leave the island.
The Big Break V: Hawaii airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break V: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.
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    Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

    By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

    HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

    It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

    Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

    It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

    ''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

    The reward now?

    ''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

    He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

    During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

    ''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

    Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

    ''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

    During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

    ''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

    It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

    Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

    And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

    It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

    ''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

    Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

    And not the Masters.

    He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

    ''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

    There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

    Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

    ''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

    He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

    ''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

    He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

    ''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

    Except for that first week in April.

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    The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

    By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

    The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

    All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

    By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

    Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

    As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

    While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

    Yeah, you heard that right.

    “I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

    Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

    Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

    Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

    As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

    Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

    Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

    A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

    Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

    With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

    First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

    “I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

    Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

    We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

    The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

    These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

    Here's two more just for good measure.

    Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

    Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

    Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

    Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

    Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

    Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

    But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

    We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

    Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

    PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

    Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.

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    Spieth selected by peers to run for PAC chairman

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 6:43 pm

    Jordan Spieth may still be relatively young, but he has gained the confidence of some of the PGA Tour's most seasoned voices.

    Spieth is one of two players selected by the current player directors of the Tour's Policy Board to run for Chairman of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). Spieth will face Billy Hurley III in an election that will end Feb. 13, with the leading vote-getter replacing Davis Love III next year on the Policy Board for a three-year term through 2021.

    Last year's PAC chairman, Johnson Wagner, replaces Jason Bohn as a player director on the Policy Board beginning this year and running through 2020. Other existing player directors include Charley Hoffman (2017-19), Kevin Streelman (2017-19) and Love (2016-18).

    The 16-member PAC advises and consults with the Policy Board and Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on "issues affecting the Tour."

    In addition to Spieth and Hurley, other PAC members for 2018 include Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Geoff Ogilvy, Sam Saunders, Chris Stroud, Justin Thomas, Kyle Thompson and Cameron Tringale.

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    Florida golfers encounter python-wrapped alligator

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

    Alligator sightings are pretty common on Southern golf courses - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

    Also, here. (RIP, Timmy the Turtle.)

    But here's one that deserves distinction.

    Those images come from the Golf Club at Fiddler's Creek, down in Naples - in case you're booking a vacation to Southwest Florida or just looking for a Hot Deal this week. Hit 'em straight, folks.