Kelly Sheehan Player Blog

By Kelly SheehanJune 29, 2010, 1:19 am

Kelly Sheehan here. As I reflect back on my experience, I am very proud of winning the first episode of Big Break Sandals Resorts. As things unfolded on episode two, one bad day turned into the end of an opportunity of a lifetime. My goal on the show was to not only win, but to utilize my 11 years of teaching experience and provide instructional tips throughout the show to the viewing audience. Unfortunately, my time was cut short, and I failed to accomplish this.

From the time I left the Big Break audition, I knew something was different about this time. Yes, I said this time; I had auditioned three times before. Failing is not an option for me, and I would have auditioned 20 more times until I got it. I got the call, and for the first time, I was not surprised. I had already started training physically and mentally. I had roughly a month from the time I found out until the time I stepped foot on the beautiful island of Exuma. I definitely had a disadvantage, as I had not played competitively in quite some time, and I was focused on working full time as a PGA & LPGA Teaching and Club Professional. I worked my full-time job at Reunion Resort and would practice after work until dark. I trained harder in the gym than I had ever trained before. As I would run on the treadmill, I would visualize winning challenges, which would make me train harder each day. The day before I left for the show, I could barely walk because I had trained so hard.

Over the month of preparing for the show, I tried to figure out how I could set my wardrobe apart from anything anyone has ever seen in golf. I dreamt up ideas and designed the shirts on my own. I hand-painted a shirt with an ace of hearts playing card on the back and lucky 7s in crystals. I also spray painted the Asian symbols “Strength,” “Courage” and “Success” on the back of a shirt. I created a shirt with silver angel wings on the back, and my trademark “Sheehan” shirt was inspired by a Rugby shirt. My parents’ birthdays were strategically placed on this shirt for motivation. I was highly disappointed that I did not get to show America my creative golf outfits.

With four suitcases and eight pairs of golf shoes packed, it really hit me what was happening. When (at the airport) I looked up and several crew members were staring at me, it was obvious they knew who I was, but I had no idea who they were, yet.

Upon arriving at Exuma, I found out the cast knew one another from competing against each other. There was a lot of chatter about who I was. I explained that despite my young girlish looks (thanks mom and dad), I am 32 years old and have been working as a PGA & LPGA Teaching and Club Professional for the past 11 years. As I was on the bus ride over to Sandals Resorts I was searching around me for the “old lady” as she has always been cool in previous seasons. I blurted out loud, “Oh my God, I am the old lady!”

The strong and confident person I trained to be faded quickly as I learned the entire cast was currently on tour.  I envisioned a meeting to discuss what was going to go down, but as soon as I got off the plane (sweatpants and no makeup), the cameras were on. As soon as I was escorted to my hotel room by a butler, I unpacked and neatly arranged all 14 outfits. I never anticipated living in a house together, but this was another twist of the show that was revealed to us after we were settled into the hotel. 

Each day, we were up at 5 a.m. and breakfast 5:30 a.m. There were three challenges and several interviews, which would put us to bed about 12 p.m. -1 a.m. I quite often found my hands trembling from nervousness when I was not even close to competition time. The first challenge was surreal, as we were transported to the location and given limited information. We got to the location, and there were at least 50 cameras waiting for us. Cameras on cranes, cameras on golf carts and some cameras so close, I felt like I was going to shatter a lens. I believe I was called out as the person to beat, and fortunately for me, I overcame adversity and won the challenge. I was not the slightest bit surprised by being considered the weakest player, because it was true; I haven’t played a really important tournament in 10 years!

As I watched the first show, I saw the goofy smile on my face after I won the challenge and remember the feeling of elation due to what I had just accomplished. Because I was the weakest player, I wanted to win even more. During the trip, we weren’t allowed to have cell phones, computers or any other type of interaction which could give us the extra bit of encouragement. As each competitor was eliminated, their bed would disappear the next day, a blunt reminder of how fast things were moving. 

I am the person that has watched this show in previous seasons, yelling at the TV screen, “I could have hit that better than this bum,” but to be truly honest, it is so much harder than it looks. As I approached my last shot of the show, I took four balls with me, as I never had a doubt I would miss the green. As usual, I did not take much time over the ball and hit a terrible 8-iron shot which missed the green. The cameras zoomed in on me which made me realize quickly what I just lost. It was the easiest 8-iron of my life, and I didn’t even make the green.

I am better than that. I immediately went into my final interview. I was visibly upset and did not quite represent myself in the positive, upbeat manner which defines who I am. I really treated this experience as a job, and the next day, I couldn’t accept what had transpired the day before. I kept trying to figure out how I could contact the producers to give me another chance. I constantly relived that easy 8-iron in my head for days, even weeks after the challenge. Shortly after being eliminated, we filmed a redemption shot and to add to the fire, I easily hit a 3-pointer on my first try, which would have led me to the next show.   

I will forever remember this wild ride of emotions, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity the Golf Channel Producers gave me. The biggest disappointment of getting cut early was that I did not get a chance to thank my mother (Farrell Sheehan) and father (Tom Sheehan) enough for always believing in me and giving me support throughout my golf career and my life. Not to mention my brother (Mike Sheehan), for helping me to follow in his competitive golf footsteps.

I not only wanted to be a role model, but I wanted to be “Rudy” of Big Break Sandals Resorts, the underdog contestant that perseveres and overcomes all odds to win the show. 

In my near future, I look forward to growing the game of golf for women through instruction and exclusive golf trips. This experience has already given me the opportunity to work with Michael Breed on The Golf Fix which was awesome! I look forward to future opportunities like this. Keep an eye out for me on the lesson tee and maybe even the leaderboard. I am not giving up yet.   

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

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“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time. 

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With blinders on, Rahm within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

“It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

“I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”

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Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

“I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

“I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

“If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.