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

Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

Getty Images

Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.