As soon as we found out we were going to Mesquite, we added a long drive challenge to the list of possibles. Thats because every year, Mesquites Palms Golf Course is home to the annual Re/Max World Long Drive Championship. We thought it would be great to put our players on the same grid as long driving legends like 5-time world champion Jason Zuback, 2-time champ Sean the Beast Fister and professional wrestler turned long driver Gerry James. Last year Gerry won the senior division with the longest drive of the competition ' longer even than the one Zuback hit to win the open championship.
But an interesting thing happened on the way to Mesquite. While we were mapping out the challenges, we were also holding auditions for the show and one of the golfers we really liked was none other than Gerry James.
As we worked through the process both Gerry and the long drive competition remained in the various mixes. There was, however, no guarantee that Gerry would still be in the competition by the fifth episode when we hit the range. (As the previous four weeks demonstrate, anything can happen on Big Break.)
The day before we went to the Palms, I stopped by the common house where all the golfers hung out and had meals. By total coincidence last years Re/Max was on television and all of the guys were watching it and marveling at Gerrys prowess with his driver. I couldnt believe the timing. Still, I kept my mouth shut and let them enjoy having fun with him. I knew full well that the next day theyd get a much different view of Gerry at the same location.