All for One

By Mark MitchellOctober 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
Big Break: MesquiteIt wouldnt be Big Break without an unexpected twist in the competition and Big Break: Mesquite is no exception. Picture Big Break meeting the Ryder Cup with more than pride at stake and you have the third episode of the 12-week series.
 
Diverting from the shows format in which challenges allow competitors to earn points that are used to determine which players make or fail to make the cut, Hiroshi Matsuo and Anthony Rodriguez, who were one and two on the cumulative point standings through the first two episodes, selected teams to compete in best-ball, alternate-shot and match-play competitions. The entire losing team from the episode would go to an elimination challenge, where one of the members would be sent home.
 
Neither captain was thrilled by the idea of facing elimination and took different approaches in managing his team. Matsuo handled the twist in stride and won his team over with respect.
 
Their opinions were very valuable to me. They know each others games better than I do, said Matsuo. They have been to battle several times on their own and didnt need a Knute Rockne speech from me.
 
Matsuos plan was to ride his Four Horseman ' Benoit Beisser, Jerry James, Brian Kontak and Matt Vick ' to immunity.
 
Rodriguez, meanwhile, merely rode his team. Calling the whole process bogus, he preferred to have his fate rest in his hands and not in the palms of his teammates ' or competitors, depending on the episode. The feeling was mutual. Rodriguez has become one of the most controversial players in the history of Big Break. He has tossed clubs, referred to himself as A-Rod, a play on his name resembling New York Yankee star Alex Rodriguez, and alternated between pouting and arrogance to the point that none of the other competitors wanted to play for Captain Rodriguez.
 
Mark Farrell, James Nitties, Kevin Taylor and Josh Warthen didnt get their wish and were rewarded with a pep talk A-Rod style.
 
He pulled us to the side and said, Look, this means more to me than it does to you guys, Nitties said of Rodriguez. If you want it more than us, dont say it. It makes him look like an individual from the team.
 
Rodriguez was presented with an opportunity to be the man of the day when he was faced with a 5-foot birdie putt for the win against Beisser in the final singles match. He missed and settled for a half point as the episode ended with each team at 3 points and facing a playoff. The first team to four points will win the competition.
 
As much as people are going to say that you played well and all that generic crap, said Nitties about the missed putt. Id be absolutely sick in my room because I missed the putt that cost us the win.
 
Matsuos team struck first in the best-ball match as Vick sank a long putt for birdie to earn one point. After halving the alternate-shot competition, the five singles matches proved pivotal. Team Rodriguez made up ground by posting two wins and a tie in the first three matches but suffered a loss and half in the closing two.
 
What transpired was one of the more exciting things Ive experienced, Vick said in a GolfChannel.com blog. There was a dramatic start, a shifting of momentum, a comeback, and overtime to top it off.
 
Sounds like just another typical episode of Big Break: Mesquite.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.