Ten Competitors One Goal Who Will Survive

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 1, 2003, 4:00 pm
To succeed in golf, an individual must rely on a lifetime of practice and preparation. But talent, skill, smarts and cunning will only get you so far. At some point in time, one must be fortunate or lucky enough to catch a break. Make that a Big Break.
And so, starting Tuesday night on The Golf Channel, 10 lucky golfers will be given the ultimate tee time - their Big Break!
The Big Break, a 10-part original series, will air Tuesdays at 9:00 PM (ET), beginning Oct. 7. It will offer the chance of a lifetime to 10 men to make their dreams of playing professional golf a reality.
The Big BreakFrom a long list of entrants around the country, The Golf Channel carefully chose 10 scratch golfers, each with their own story and aspirations, to compete in a series of unique challenges in a quest to be the last man standing.
And for that last man, the Big Break will be his ' sponsors exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
The 10 competitors - ranging in ages from 25 to 56 - will be faced with tests of their physical and psychological abilities, as tension-filled skills challenges and long hours of production take their toll.
The group includes: Randy Block, 41, a golf store manager from San Antonio, Texas; Jeff Brown, 40, an operations manager with the Federal Aviation Administration from Hampton, Ga.; Charles Calhoun, 36, an aspiring tour professional from Marietta, Ohio; Steve Duemig, 48, a radio talk show host from Clearwater, Fla.; Mark Farnham, 37, a school supplies company president from Chicago, Ill.; Garrett Garland, 56, a business executive from Northridge, Calif.; Craig Pawling, 29, a bartender from Sunrise, Fla.; Justin Peters, 26, an aspiring tour professional from Plantation, Fla.; Jon Roddy, 26, a part-time golf shop sales clerk from Orlando, Fla.; and Anthony Sorentino, 25, a landscape and construction worker from Rochester Hills, Mich.
The Golf Channel's cameras followed all 10 men on and off the golf course, allowing viewers to eavesdrop on conversations and opening a window into their personal feelings.
'I think for some of the younger guys that this is may be their really first big chance ever, and it's a little different for me, that this may be my last shot ever, said Garrett Garland, the show's oldest participant. 'So it's not only the Big Break, it's the last break.
Unlike other shows, there is no voting on The Big Break - each week one competitor will be eliminated based solely on his performance in challenges designed to simulate shots players face every week on tour.
The Big Break features both skills challenges and elimination challenges, in which the players have to shoot their way through and around elaborate props providing some unexpected and humorous twists.
'It's like, 'OK, what's in store next, what are they going to have us do?'' wondered Georgia resident Jeff 'Lucky' Brown, who has a wife and two children.
Katherine Roberts and Rick SmithThe player who wins each skills challenge will receive a prize, and the all important Mulligan. The Mulligan will be an extra shot that the player can use in the subsequent elimination challenge.
In the elimination challenge the pressure is on, as the competitor with the worst performance is sent home. As the episodes progress and the number of competitors dwindles, winning Mulligans and performing well in the elimination challenges become increasingly more important.
'Everybody's goal,' stated talk show host Steve Duemig, 'is not to be the first guy going home.'
The series was shot in picturesque northern Michigan at the popular Treetops Resort. Rick Smith, one of The Golf Channel's Troubleshooters and instructor to PGA Tour stars such as Phil Mickelson, Rocco Mediate and Lee Janzen, will serve as co-host of the series. Throughout the show, Smith will lend expertise and guidance to the competitors.
Smith will be joined by co-host Katherine Roberts, a health and fitness guru, who will set the stage for each episode.
'This show will give viewers at home a revealing look at how passionate these guys are about golf and just how difficult it can be to master the game. The unusual challenges will be a lot of fun to watch,' said Smith.
Related Links:
  • Episode 1 Airtimes
  • Full Coverage of The Big Break
  • Discussion Boards: Share your thoughts!
  • Big Break Poll: Cast your vote!
  • Getty Images

    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

    Getty Images

    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

    Getty Images

    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

    Getty Images

    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.