Drama Leads to an Unexpected Departure

By Mark MitchellApril 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
The Big Break VIIThe claws came out and it wasnt pretty. No, we arent talking about a verbal brawl on a reality show with a seedy title like Sorority Confidential or Golfers Gone Wild. Rather, this interpersonal drama took place on the very real The Big Break VII: Reunion.
 
What started as a pleasant breakfast before the seventh episode of the series ended in one of the most bizarre scenes in Big Break history. The commotion began when Bri Vega confronted Pam Garrity about a remark made in a previous episode. Then Ashley Gomes joined in the fray. Making it a three ring circus, Laura London attempted to clear the air with Garrity about alleged comments that werent exactly Sunday morning worthy.
 
When the smoke cleared, Garrity decided she had enough of The Big Break VII and packed her clubs and took her ball home. It marks the first time a competitor has withdrawn from the series in the seven season run.
 
Im not that aggressive in life or in golf, Garrity explained about her decision to leave the show. I found myself in an uncomfortable position with all the gamesmanship.
 
It should come as no surprise trouble erupted. Put 16 competitive individuals in an environment where they are battling for a life-changing opportunity by day and sharing quarters at night, and sparks were bound to fly.
 
Its like throwing yourself back into your worst high school nightmare, said London, who also was a contestant in The Big Break VI: Trump National. What viewers dont understand is that there is the golf competition they see and then there is the psychological part of the competition.
 
And, by the way, there was serious competition in the episode that ended with Vega exiting the show after losing an elimination challenge to Mike Foster and Laura London.
 
The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in challenges that test physical skills and mental toughness. During The Big Break VII, competitors will be eliminated with the last one standing crowned the winner. Each show features two to three challenges, the outcome of each influencing who stays and who goes home. Each challenge will demand precision shot-making designed to simulate conditions that players face every week on Tour.
 
After the three failed to earn immunity in the first three challenges of the episode they found themselves on the tee box of the par-4 18th hole of the Watson Course at Ginn Reunion Resort. In a stroke play challenge, the player with the highest score was eliminated from the series. Should there be a tie then those contestants would continue playing the hole until someone was eliminated.
 
London made birdie to advance while Foster and Vega matched par. On the second playing of the hole, Foster made a 15-foot putt to save par to tie Vega and stay alive. It also may be the turning moment in the series for Foster.
 
I finally have the competitive juices I have been looking for all week long, Foster, who played on the Nationwide Tour in 1992 - 93, said about making the putt. I felt the drive I need.
 
Focused, Foster made birdie on the third playing of the hole to send Vega packing. Her defeat signaled the end of an improbable Big Break run. The North Andover, Mass. resident won The Big Break VI. Vega was one of the most unlikely contestants to emerge as the winner of sixth season. After all, wasnt she one of competitors nobody wanted as a teammate in the first episode the series?
 
Im like the kid not being picked in dodge ball, a dejected Vega explained when she was not picked as a partner in Big Break VI and was forced to survive an elimination challenge to stay on the series. No one wanted me as a partner.
 
That changed in The Big Break VII when she was considered one of the favorites in the competition.
 
Im the only person here who didnt know what it was like to leave the show, said the 25-year-old North Andover, Mass. native. Its time for someone who hasnt had the chance to win to win. Someone who wins will feel just as good as when I won Big Break VI. I cant wait for them to experience what Ive experienced.
 
With Vegas departure, the remaining six contestants are competing for the grand prize. If one of the remaining male professionals is victorious, then he will earn a spot in the field of the 2007 Cox Classic on the Nationwide Tour. Should one of the females claim the title, then she will be invited to compete in the 2007 Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA on the LPGA Tour.
 
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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.