Tour Members Win Trip and Big Break Audition

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
Golf Channel Amateur TourWhen the line is long theres nothing better than being escorted past everyone else, right to the front.
 
Three players earned the right to jump right to the top of the audition list for The Big Break 8. Tony Caporale of Atlanta, Ga., Brent Brooks of Sorrento, Fla., Chase Barnes of Houston, Texas, won three of the four Big Break 8 Qualifier tournaments on the GOLF CHANNEL Amateur Tour.
 
The final qualifier was won this weekend by Andrew Flaskerud at Whisper Creek Golf Club outside of Chicago. He will get his private audition this week in Orlando.
 
Caporale was the first to earn a bump in the audition process by winning the first qualifier at The Heritage Club just north of Atlanta. Brooks became the second in, taking home top honors at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Barnes was the low man at Redstone Golf Club, home to the Shell Houston Open.
 
The winning trio were treated to an inside look at the GOLF CHANNEL studios.
By virtue of their victories, the three men ' as well as the soon-to-be determined fourth ' were allowed to skip a pre-audition for the next installment of The Big Break, in which someone will earn a PGA TOUR exemption. They were able to bypass the screening process, where thousands of applicants are whittled down to a select few ' who are then whittled down to the chosen 12.
 
Caporale, Brooks and Barnes were flown to Orlando, Fla., where they stayed at Reunion Resort, home to The Big Break VII: Reunion. They were given a tour of GOLF CHANNEL headquarters (Very cool, exclaimed Barnes.) and met Big Break co-host Vince Cellini.
 
If that wasnt enough star power for them, they dined with Tiger Woods that evening. Well, not exactly. But Woods was at the same restaurant as the trio.
 
The following morning, Caporale, Brooks and Barnes met with show producers for a formal interview. They also underwent a playing test at Reunion in which they had a chance to impress the men who control their Big Break fate. All three played well with Brooks firing a 4-under-par 68 to lead the way. Caporale got around the Par-72 course at Even par, while Barnes carded a solid 73.
 
Caporale is currently the tour manager for the multi-platinum band Collective Soul. He owns a +0.5 handicap and has a career low round of 66. Hes competed in professional and amateur events from coast-to-coast and says that he and members of the band play as often as possible when on the road.
 
The highlight of his playing career: Winning the GOLF CHANNEL Big Break Qualifier, of course!
 
Brooks is a veteran player with a resume full of mini-tour experience. He cites a scratch handicap and shot a career low 63 in a Hooters Tour event.
 
Brooks playing highlights include twice making it to the second stage of the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament, winning a professional event in northern Florida, and competing in the Nationwide Tours Louisiana Open.
 
Meanwhile, Barnes, by comparison, is just starting out in the game. He didnt really pick it up until the high school golf coach convinced him to join the team.
 
The now 22-year-old shot 110 in his first tournament, reduced that to an 88 four tournaments later, and shot 79 two months thereafter.
 
He now sports a +1 handicap and has a career low round of 65.
 
Chase Barnes gets in a little putting practice on one of the instructional sets.
Unlike Caporale and Brooks, Barnes did not know when he signed up for his first GOLF CHANNEL Amateur Tour event that it was a Big Break Qualifier as well.
 
Once I found out, I thought, This is pretty cool. And after I won, it didnt hit me at first, but then it did and I thought, Wow, this is really cool, Barnes said.
 
Of course, all of these guys have individual goals which they are trying to achieve. And making it on the show can only get them closer to attaining them.
 
I just love the game. I love everything about it. I love working on my game, getting better, Caporale said. I love competition. Ive watched every episode of every series, so Im very familiar with the show. Ive always wanted to get the chance to be a part of this program and winning that tournament has at least given me a chance to do that.
 
Said Brooks, who will have been married for 11 years this July and has two kids, ages 8 and 4, The PGA TOUR exemption is what Im after. I want to get out there. That was what I wanted to do before life and family kind of derailed me. Well, not so much derailed as kind of made me change gears.
 
Its hard to play mini-tour golf when youve got a mortgage and a wife and a kid.
 
For Barnes, the bar is set even higher.
 
My goal is to not just make the TOUR, but to be where years from now when you say my name, people know my name, he said. Its not just to make the TOUR; its to make the Hall of Fame.
 
First things first: making it on The Big Break 8. The show contestants will be revealed in July.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.