The First Cut is Rough

By October 14, 2003, 4:00 pm
The Big BreakThe Golf Channel aired the second episode of its 10-part original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which 10 scratch golfers from around the country compete in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges.
 
From here on out, one contestant will be eliminated each week until there is just one man left standing. The lucky winner will get the Big Break of his golfing career - exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
 
As the sun was rising for the second show, so, too, were the contestants' fears, knowing that as the darkness fell later that evening only nine would remain and one unfortunate golfer would be sent packing.
 
The fact that someone was going to be gone, yeah, I was nervous about that, confided 41-year-old Jeff Brown of Hampton, Ga. But as far as what we were going to do, what type of shots, I wasnt nervous about that.
 
On the range at the Treetops Resort, the players all had an opportunity to warm up in preparation for the days two challenges ' the skills challenge and the dreaded elimination challenge.
 
While most were hard at work, 56-year-old Garrett Garland seemed more interested in his competition.
 
He was spending more time walking up and down the range feeling, Hey, Im the man, I got it or whatever, noticed a somewhat annoyed Charles Calhoun about Garlands time on the range.
 
Upon arriving at the site of their first challenge, the players were greeted by Golf Channel Troubleshooter Rick Smith and co-host Katherine Roberts. Smith, who will be on hand throughout the series to offer advice, tips and dole out words of encouragement, informed the golfers of the first stiff test.
 
Big Break Episode 2Each was given 90 seconds to try and chip as many balls as they could into a three-foot foam basket attached to the top of a golf cart. But with one catch ' the golf cart would be moving toward and away from them during their allotted time. The player scoring the most direct hits would win a Sony Home Theater System and the all-important Mulligan to be used in the elimination challenge.
 
Wrestling with the physical fatigue and delicate nature of trying to chip as many balls as possible in 90 seconds, the contestants struggled in trying to lock in on the target. After all 10 gave it a go, Justin Peters, Randy Block and Jon Roddy led the way with a total of three direct hits.
 
A playoff ensued and Peters used a last-second buzzer-beater to claim the prize and the mulligan.
 
You couldnt script it any better, I mean, what a great feeling. You know, at the buzzer to win, said Peters, who has played golf on the Hooters Tour. Its just a memory Ill cherish forever.
 
Finally the time had come for the groups first elimination challenge, and time to see whose nerves could withstand the daunting pressure. Distance control was the name of the game.
 
A white stripe was painted across the fairway, 150 yards from the tee box, and the players were told that they would have three attempts to get it as close to the line as possible. Each attempt would count, as the average distance away from the line would be used to determine the order of finish.
 
A version of the good, the bad and the ugly broke out as several of the contestants knocked it stiff, a few landed somewhere in the vicinity of the white line and some, well, werent even in the ballpark.
 
Big Break Episode 2I was real nervous; I did not want to be gone. I didnt feel I deserved to be gone, after the shots I had hit, said Anthony Sorentino. I just didnt want to be out. Id get dogged out by my friends if I was out on the first show.
 
It finally came down to the last swing of the day as Mark Farnham needed to knock it close in order to oust 56-year-old Garrett Garland. Seeing spots and battling dehydration, Farnham let go of what looked like an ugly swing, only to get the results he needed to survive another day.
 
The name of the show is The Big Break. Ive probably had the biggest break so far, said Farnham. The way I finished the first round, its like one of those get out of jail for free cards.
 
As for Garland, his chance at a Big Break had come to an abrupt end.
 
Its a little depressing, but its still OK, said Garland, the first man to miss the cut. I just didnt do as well as I should have. I cant make a lot of excuses about this and that.
 
Be sure to tune in to The Golf Channel Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as the group will face another round of tough challenges to see who will survive, and who will follow Garland off the show.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry