Exemptions on the Line at Big Break VII Sets to Debut

By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 21, 2007, 5:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Reunions come in many forms. There are family reunions, class reunions and homecoming football games. But there has never been a gathering like The Big Break VII: Reunion.
The GOLF CHANNELs popular series The Big Break is returning for its seventh season, and so will 16 of the most memorable characters from the first six seasons. The Big Break VII promises new excitement as old adversaries, fan favorites and a few surprise guests bring their A-game to the hit series.
Premiering Feb. 25 at 10 p.m. ET, The Big Break VII will feature Challenges from past seasons combined with new skills competitions. Flashbacks to unforgettable moments will set the stage as old wounds will be reopened and new rivalries created with twists and turns that have become a Big Break tradition.
For longtime The Big Break fans, the field is a collection of old friends and acquaintances. For new viewers, the series will provide an opportunity to discover the individuals that made it one of the GOLF CHANNELs most popular shows.
The competitors are: Mark Farnham, The Big Break I, Chicago, Ill.; Don Donatello, The Big Break II, Sanford, Fla.; Mike Foster, The Big Break II, Savannah, Ga.; David Gunas, The Big Break II, Hebron, Conn.; Pamela Garrity (formerly Crikelar), The Big Break III: Ladies Only, Jupiter, Fla.; Cindy Miller, The Big Break III: Ladies Only, Silver Creek, N.Y.; Valeria Ochoa, The Big Break III: Ladies Only, Miramar, Fla.; Tommy Gainey, The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe, Bishopville, S.C.; Eddie Gardino, The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe, Crans-Montana, Switzerland; Nikki DiSanto, The Big Break V: Hawaii, Los Angeles, Calif.; Kim Lewellen, The Big Break V: Hawaii, Greenville, N.C.; Ashley Gomes, The Big Break VI: Trump National, Pleasanton, Calif.; Laura London, The Big Break VI: Trump National, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Kelly Murray, The Big Break VI: Trump National, Reston, Va.; Gary Ostrega, The Big Break VI: Trump National, Westfield, N.J.; Bri Vega, The Big Break VI: Trump National, North Andover, Mass.
The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in challenges that test physical skills and mental toughness. During The Big Break VII, competitors will be eliminated with the last one standing awarded his/her Big Break.
However challenging the task, the ultimate champion will be rewarded for his/her efforts. The field resembles a demographic jig-saw puzzle with competitors being both male and female representing various age groups. The ultimate prize will vary depending on the champion. If one of the eight male professionals is victorious, then he will either earn a spot in the field of the 2007 Cox Classic on the Nationwide Tour or the 2008 Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach on the Champions Tour. Should one of the eight females claim the title, then they will be invited to compete in the 2007 Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika on the LPGA Tour.
In addition to tournament exemptions, the Ginn Reunion Resort will present the champion with $50,000 in cash and Ginn Resort lodging & hospitality while Adams Golf will award the winner with an Adams Golf endorsement contract -which includes $10,000 cash - to keep the winner on top of his/her game. Also, Dicks Sporting Goods will provide a $10,000 shopping spree in the form of a gift card.
Finally, the ultimate winner will drive away in a new 2007 Chrysler Aspen, Chryslers first full-sized SUV.
The Big Break VII takes place at the Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla. Returning as hosts for the series will be the GOLF CHANNELs Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks.
As with previous installments, episodes of The Big Break VII will feature challenges designed to demand precise shot-making. Each challenge will bring out the more creative side of golf. The Immunity Challenges are true tests of the players shot control, and the player that comes out on top in these challenges will be awarded a one-show exemption from elimination. In the Elimination Challenge, each shows pressure-filled test of golf skill, the poorest performer will be eliminated from the show and sent packing for home.
Champions of previous Big Break series have won their chance to compete on some of the worlds top professional tours, such as the Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Nationwide Tour and Canadian Tour.
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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."

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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.'"

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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."

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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."

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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.