Big Break II Raises the Stakes

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
Big Break II LogoORLANDO, Fla. -- The stakes for a chance to play big-time professional golf just got higher.
The Golf Channels hit reality show ' The Big Break ' is back and heading for the bright lights and hot golf of Las Vegas for a new 11-week season beginning Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. ET.

The Big Break II will pit 10 highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that will test their physical skills and mental toughness. One golfer will be eliminated from the series each week, with the last man standing awarded his Big Break, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in four internationally televised Nationwide Tour events on The Golf Channel in 2005.
The winner will also receive a 2005 Ford Five Hundred luxury sedan and $10,000 cash from Nationwide.
The Big Break IIReturning as co-host for the series will be Rick Smith, famed golf instructor for 2004 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. Joining Smith as new co-host will be Lesley Swanson, who will set the stage for each episode and guide the contestants through the various challenges.
The Big Break II was shot on location in Las Vegas at four different golf courses, with each course offering different playing conditions to challenge the contestants, who also had to contend with the summer heat, which consistently topped 100 degrees. During the series production, the contestants were housed together on the penthouse level of the Treasure Island hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip.
The different locales and the skill level exhibited by the contestants will provide some great drama for sure ' not to mention the heat and everything that happens off the course, said Jay Kossoff lead producer for The Big Break II.
The contestants competing on The Big Break II were chosen from more than 5,000 applicants who were evaluated and auditioned by Golf Channel producers at sites across the United States and Canada.
To be considered, golfers had to verify a handicap of 1 or better and demonstrate their shot-making skills on command.
The contestants include: Shelby Chrest, 28, a bowling alley owner from Olds, Alberta, a small Canadian town near Calgary; Sean Daly, 23, a student and former professional baseball player from San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Don Donatello, 35, a professional golfer and caddy from Lake Mary (Orlando), Fla.; Mike Foster Jr., 36, a marketing representative from Savannah, Ga.; David Gunas Jr., 37, a sales manager and teacher from Hebron, Conn.; Calvin Kip Henley III, 44, a teaching pro from Crossville, Tenn.; Bart Lower, 28, a driving range owner from Ann Arbor, Mich.; John Turk, 52, a retired Air Force fighter pilot from Melbourne, Fla.; and Scott Yancy III, 23, a golf pro from Glen Carbon, Ill. The 10th contestant is Jay McNair, 29, a grade-school teacher from Brandon, Fla., who was voted on The Big Break II by Golf Channel viewers during a Viewers Choice show that aired in June.
Like the first series, The Big Break II will feature challenges that demand precise shot-making designed to simulate shots that players face every week on tour. But the new series will add a third challenge to each episode, with all three challenges playing a role in determining the outcome of the show.
The Skills Challenges are true tests of the players shot control, and the winners of these challenges are awarded a one-show exemption from elimination.
The Mulligan Challenges will bring out the more creative side of golf and will showcase fun Las Vegas themes. If you win the Mulligan, you are awarded an extra shot during the elimination round, which can be used at the players discretion or not at all.
And during the Elimination Challenge, which is another pressure-filled test of golf skill, the poorest performer is sent packing for home.
So mark your calendars for Sept. 28th, as the 10 lucky golfers head out to Las Vegas to begin the quest for their own Big Break - four Nationwide Tour exemptions and international exposure on The Golf Channel.
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm