Coming Down to the Wire

By Mark MitchellDecember 5, 2007, 5:00 pm
Big Break: MesquiteWhen Hiroshi Matsuo drove away in the car that he won on Tuesdays Big Break: Mesquite, Gerry James could only wave goodbye after being eliminated from the series.
After a grand effort to stave off elimination by posting an episode high 16 points, James fell short of Matsuo's series total of 99 points and was forced to face Brian Kontak and Josh Warthen in the Elimination Challenge that led to his demise.
I have to give Gerry a shout out and say well done, Warthen said in a blog. This guy doesn't play nearly as many tournaments as most of us on the show and he hung in there. He hit some clutch shots and made it through some tough elimination.
Matsuo, meanwhile, added seven points to win the 2008 Chrysler Sebring. The Jupiter, Fla. resident led the standings in each of the series' first ten episodes.
In the remaining two episodes points will not longer be awarded as the final three contestants start each show all-square. The winner of Big Break: Mesquite will earn an exemption to play in the 2008 Mayakoba Golf Classic on the PGA TOUR.
Big Break: Mesquite implemented a scoring system to give the series a tournament feel. Shows will consist of challenges that allow the players to earn points that will be used to determine which players make or fail to make the cut. The cut line varies from episode to episode and is based on the players cumulative points for the series. The cut will be announced at the start of each show and will be applied directly after that episodes final Points Challenge. Players who make the cut advance directly to the next episode. Players who fail to make the cut will go to the Elimination Challenge. The competitor with the worst performance in a shows Elimination Challenge will be eliminated from Big Break: Mesquite.
James originally was considered a long shot in the series due to a perceived stereotypical lack of touch in the short game. After all, anyone who is 65 and has twice won the senior division of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship couldnt be taken as a series threat.
Right? Wrong.
James prided himself on possessing the total game when it comes to golf, something to which PGA TOUR star Vijay Singh can attest. One of the top players in the world, Singh is an admirer of James work ethic and the two play golf together when they are at home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. In addition, former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beaman recommended James to the GOLF CHANNEL for Big Break: Mesquite.
James power and size comes from a previous career in body building. As a teenager, he saw a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger and said to himself, I want to look like that.
After moving from Michigan to Los Angeles, he worked as a door man and worked out with the giants of the body building world at Muscle Beach. Before James knew it he was benching more than 500 pounds. During the time he was pumping iron he also moonlighted as a professional wrestler. In his first televised match he took on Macho Man Randy Savage and later competed against the likes of Andre the Giant.
Working odd jobs, such as a bouncer in a night club and a truck driver, he paid both the bills and the toll it took on his body to succeed in body building. His work paid off in 1990 when he won the Mr. California body building title. At the time James earned the title, he weighed 263 pounds and sported a modest three percent body fat. Shortly after winning the Mr. California title, James grew weary of all the protein powder, supplements and steroids it took to get to the top of his profession.
Too many steroids, James said. It was starting to put my health at risk.
The gentle giant stopped the steroids and turned to God and golf to take his life in a different direction, something that the other Big Breakers came to respect.
They also came to respect his game. And while it wasnt enough to win the Big Break Mesquite, James gave them something more than just his drives to marvel about.
Related Links:
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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.