Good News Bad News for Vick

By Mark MitchellNovember 6, 2007, 5:00 pm
Big Break: MesquiteFor Matt Vick, the sixth episode of Big Break: Mesquite was a good news/bad news scenario. On the positive side of the ledger, he was the first player to break a pane of glass in the Big Break: Mesquites signature Glass Break Challenge en route to recording the most points during the show, which was worth $1,000.
 
Then there was the bad, which was very bad considering the crux of the show is about sticking around. Vick was eliminated from the series after losing in a four-man Elimination Challenge against Beniot Beisser, Kevin Taylor and Josh Warthen when his series cumulative total of 30 points found him below the cut line.
 
Big Break: Mesquite has implemented a new scoring system to give the series a tournament feel. Each of the 12 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.
 
Hiroshi Matsuo added four points for a six-episode leading total of 53 points, eight better than Gerry James, who also tallied four points for the day. Brian Kontak is in third place, 10 off the lead.
 
Vicks elimination was like posting the lowest score in the second round of a tournament but missing the cut after blowing-up with a high score during the first round. Thats golf, or in this case, thats Big Break: Mesquite.
 
We were all trying to get to the end. Winning the $1,000 is nice but it is all about trying to avoid being eliminated, Vick said of his episode high 10 points but being ushered off the show.
 
Talk with Vick for any length of time and it will become apparent he doesnt take himself too seriously and has a dislike for those who do. That doesnt mean, though, that he isnt fiercely intent on making a career in golf.
 
I have an ultimate goal in mind to play on the PGA TOUR, said Vick, who tends bar and lives at home to finance playing on the mini-tours and save money to enter the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. The master plan is only year to year because I dont know whats going to come first, the end of my rope or the PGA TOUR.
 
His career path could have just as easily been playing in the National Football League. Vick earned All-America honors at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and was named the kicker on the Mocs All-Century team. In 2000, his senior season, he led the nation in field goals and looked to the NFL as the next step. After not being drafted, Vick tried out for several teams but didnt get invited to training camp. What he did get was advice from coaches to go to the Arena League or the now-defunct NFL Europe.
 
At that point football looked no different to me than mini-tour golf, said Vick, who played golf in college for two years before quitting to focus on football. I realized that if I played better golf, then I would get the opportunity to excel. I felt slighted coming out of college.
 
Golf won out over football because Vick felt the game is becoming more of a sport for athletes and characters.
 
I feel like the athletic experiences carry over to any sport that you play, said the 29-year-old Vick. There are so many golfers where golf is all they have done in their lives. They have always played an individual sport and havent been able to succeed at different things. When all else is equal, the athlete beats the crap out of the non-athlete.
 
In Vicks case, he has the athletic ability. And there is no doubt he is a character, so it seems that golf is the right sport for him after all -- just not in Big Break: Mesquite.
 
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    Rahm (62) takes early lead at CareerBuilder

    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

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    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."

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    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.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."