Maiya Tanaka Player Blog

By Maiya TanakaJuly 4, 2010, 3:44 am
Dang! I got eliminated! That wasn’t the plan!

I got to the airport around 4 a.m. It was still dark outside, and I was in my comfy sweats and UCLA travel gear, no makeup. After a few layovers and hours later, I arrived at the Bahamas, once again to darkness outside. This time we were greeted with cameras! Ah! This was my TV debut, and I was in sweats and no makeup, but that’s just how I roll. I was the only one who looked like they just rolled out of bed, but hello America!

In reviewing my thoughts in my journal, the biggest thing I worried about was how I was going to survive without my laptop and phone for two weeks! Other than that, I took a relatively relaxed approach to the show. I packed modestly: one bag and my golf bag. Of course, I forgot half the things I needed, but the girls had my back if I ever had to borrow anything. The girls were amazing!

First notable thing was that we got butlers! When we first arrived, we each had our own personal butler! He even carried my purse as we walked toward the rooms. Now that’s a real man! I also was so excited to eat anything out of the mini bar! Usually, that’s off limits, and I wouldn’t even think about opening it. It was awesome! I got into half that mini bar on the first night! The excitement of being there mixed with the surreal feeling of actually being selected was incredible.

We played a fun practice round the next morning, where I got to know Sara and Carling a little better. We did photo shoots, had our makeup done and just feel like girls! It was so much fun! If I could have had the whole trip be like this, I would be in heaven, no worries and no pressure. However, reality sunk in, and it was off to the competition!

The night before the first day, I couldn’t sleep at all. I wanted to know what the challenge would be. I was so excited! When we woke up, the cameras were there. From the moment we woke up to the very end of the day, we had microphones on us. This was the weirdest thing, knowing someone else was listening to everything you say at any given moment. But it also was fun messing with the sound guys and keeping them on their toes! We would joke around and say stuff just to check if they were listening.

Commenting on the first episode’s challenges, I was just so nervous. I couldn’t even hold onto the golf club. I also didn’t factor in the adrenaline and hit my first challenge shot way long. Then I did it again with the second challenge—hitting it long—then overcorrecting for the second shot. I’m just glad that I was able to relax and dial it in for the elimination challenge. It was closer to actually playing a real hole of golf. I was excited because that’s what I do, and that’s where I’m used to having the pressure put on me. The idea of only having one shot at a random location was the main reason I felt so much pressure. It's weird looking back on the shots. I feel like I could do them in my sleep now!

I received a lot of comments about my Breast Cancer Awareness shirt. That’s what the I <3 Boobies was for, for those of you who were wondering. I just wanted to show my support. I got the shirt at a cool pub-crawl for Breast Cancer that I went on. Support Breast Cancer Awareness!

On the second episode, I got saved, so I was able to get some pool time in. Not bad at all. :) I kicked back with a few piña coladas and worked on that sock tan! I was hoping they would let us practice, since we got very minimal practice in since we had arrived, but we couldn't. I do feel like I could have done well in the competition that day looking back on it, especially because driver is my favorite club to hit!


Elimination Day: Da-Da-Dum.

All I can think about is how long that day seemed. It was such a harsh day with roller coaster emotions. I was so happy and excited to see and meet Greg Norman, and it was so cool of him to give us pointers and tips and hang out with us at the range. I liked his accent, and he seemed really nice. Then, he becomes our worst enemy as he sets up the hardest shots he could have around the hole. Thanks Greg! But really, his thought process was, “where would the ball end up if you went for the green and missed the shot.”

I wanted to remind Greg we are pros and would never miss there! Just kidding. It made for a fun challenge. The fact that the winning group got to save someone also kind of made it interesting. The field went from nine girls to only five in what seemed like a heartbeat. That really put the pressure on, because in my eyes, Sara, Carling, Ryann and Taryn were the strongest competitors out there, and none of us were going down without a fight. After a few shots that were good, but not good enough, I ended up having to face-off with the one girl I've always had to compete with, Ryann. I didn't want to have to compete against her until the end. I wanted us to go all the way and then face each other in the finale. But, it came early, and it was Deja vu back to our UCLA days. Fighting for the last spot.

I’m happy to have been chosen to compete on Big Break. I leave with a smile on my face that will continue to shine on to see another tournament. I know just being chosen says a lot about my game and personality, so I could never leave feeling badly about what happened. Just in being selected, I felt like I won a raffle or something. But I would have felt like I won the lotto if I had won!

My main regret is the fact that I wasn’t able to really display my talent on the course.  I was nervous in every single challenge and couldn’t calm those nerves! The excitement and nervousness I felt was something unimaginable and a type of feeling that is solely the product of Big Break. There is no other feeling like it. I am confident that I will never have quite the same feeling again, because it is so unique, and I don’t know if I could handle it! It has, however, been the biggest and best preparation for my future that I could have asked for. I feel prepared for pressure situations, to be on camera and to be able to enjoy it. I feel like I could take on anyone, anywhere at anytime now, which is the perfect mindset as I pursue my career and try to reach my goal of competing on the LPGA Tour.

I can only hope they will do a reunion show and invite me back, so I can really show what I can do on the golf course. I think I would have a good chance the second time around, because now I know what to expect. But then again, I’ve learned that with Big Break, you can never really expect anything but the unexpected.

Continue to follow me and my career. I'll have a lot of fun stuff coming up! Thank you to everyone who believes in me and has faith I will make it one day! I appreciate all the love and support!!

<3, Maiya

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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.