Big Break NFL Puerto Rico Competitors Battle For Largest Grand Prize in Series History

By Golf Channel Public RelationsOctober 1, 2013, 4:33 pm

BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO COMPETITORS BATTLE FOR LARGEST GRAND PRIZE IN SERIES HISTORY 

More than $200,000 in Cash and Prizes – Including PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour Tournament Exemptions – for Winning Team of BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO 

NFL Legends to Compete for $50,000 for Charity

12 Former BIG BREAK Competitors Join Forces With NFL Legends and Hall-of-Famers as Three-Person Teams 

Series Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET 

Series Website: BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO Website

Video: BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO Sneak Peek 

ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 27, 2013) – The largest grand prize in the history of BIG BREAK will be up for grabs when Golf Channel’s longest running reality-competition series tees up its 20th  season Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET.  BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO will feature an all-star cast of 12 previous BIG BREAK competitors joining an NFL legend to form six, three-person teams, battling for more than $200,000 in cash and prizes.

The winning team on BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO will receive the following:

NFL Legend

-          $50,000 awarded a charity of his choice

-          Cash and prizes from episode challenges

Female BIG BREAK Competitor

-          $50,000 in cash

-          A sponsor exemption to the 2014 ShopRite LPGA Classic on the LPGA Tour

-          An endorsement contract from Adams Golf, which includes $10,000 in cash

-          $5,000 in cash from Dick’s Sporting Goods

-          $10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental

-          A four day, three night stay for two at the Dorado Beach Plantation Village in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico

Male BIG BREAK Competitor

-          $50,000 in cash

-          A sponsor exemption to the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic on the PGA TOUR

-          An endorsement contract from Adams Golf, which includes $10,000 in cash

-          $5,000 in cash from Dick’s Sporting Goods

-          $10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental

-          A four day, three night stay for two at the Dorado Beach Plantation Village in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico. 

BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO will feature a new series format – teams will win or lose as teams.  In a new format twist for this season, eliminations will not take place every week.  Losing teams at the end of episodes will earn a “Loss.”  Teams earning two losses will be eliminated from the series.  The last team standing will be crowned BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO Champions.

The teams competing on BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO are:

Team Brown

Tim Brown (46, Dallas, Texas, 3 handicap, 17-year NFL wide receiver, 1987 Heisman Trophy winner).  Competing on behalf of the Tim Brown Foundation, which supports programs and initiatives nationwide for mentoring and education programs for kids, including the Athletes & Entertainers for Kids and 911 for Kids.

Mallory Blackwelder (26, Versailles, Ky. / Scottsdale, Ariz. – BIG BREAK IRELAND)

Will Lowery (28, Charlotte, N.C. – BIG BREAK INDIAN WELLS)

Team Bulger

Marc Bulger (36, Sarasota, Fla., 4 handicap, 10-year NFL quarterback and two-time Pro Bowler).  Competing on behalf of the Marc Bulger Foundation, which provides funding to a diverse range of programs benefiting men and women in the armed services, as well as police and fire personnel.  Potential winnings will support the Marine Corps Scholarships Foundation, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Zakiya Randall (21, Washington, D.C. – BIG BREAK ATLANTIS)

Chad Schulze (25, Cockeysville, Md. – BIG BREAK MEXICO)

Team Del Greco

Al Del Greco (51, Birmingham, Ala., +1 handicap, 17-year NFL placekicker).  Competing on behalf of The Bright House Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves Alabama communities by creating, supporting and enhancing the services provided for children and adults with special needs.

Stefanie Kenoyer (24, Lighthouse Point, Fla. – BIG BREAK MEXICO)

Oren Geri (40, Altamonte Springs, Fla. – BIG BREAK INDIAN WELLS)

Team Doleman

Chris Doleman (51, Atlanta, Ga., 3 handicap, 2012 Pro Football Hall-of-Fame Inductee and 15-year NFL defensive lineman).  Competing on behalf of the Chris Singleton Foundation, which provides financial support to non-profit organizations that are making impact in three social justice initiatives: helping in the fight against human slavery, providing solutions for “At Risk Youth” and making safe drinking water to those in need.

Shannon Fish (24, Spring, Texas – BIG BREAK ATLANTIS)

Brian Cooper (46, Phoenix, Ariz. – BIG BREAK GREENBRIER)

Team Rice

Jerry Rice (50, Atherton, Calif., 1 handicap, Pro Football Hall-of-Fame wide receiver and three-time Super Bowl champion).  Competing on behalf of the Jerry Rice 127 Foundation, which provides financial support to agencies and organizations in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond dedicated to helping children and their families.

Emily Talley (23, Napa, Calif. – BIG BREAK MEXICO)

Isaac Sanchez (34, Folsom, Calif. – BIG BREAK GREENBRIER)

Team Rypien

Mark Rypien (50, Spokane, Wash., 1 handicap, 12-year NFL quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion). Competing on behalf of the Mark Rypien Foundation, built after Rypien lost his three-year-old son, Andrew, to cancer in 1998.  The foundation raises and provides funding to support unique programs and projects that help address the needs of children with cancer and foster a healing environment for child cancer patients.

Meghan Hardin (21, La Quinta, Calif. – BIG BREAK ATLANTIS)

James Lepp (28, Abbotsford, British Columbia – BIG BREAK GREENBRIER)

Golf Channel’s BIG BREAK show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO, teams will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including two of the series’ signature challenges, the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall” challenges.  The series also will feature special guest appearances from World Golf Hall-of-Fame member and Puerto Rico’s own Chi Chi Rodriguez and two-time Super Bowl winner and NBC’s Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison.

NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football sideline reporter and Emmy Award-winner Michele Tafoya also joins Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott to co-host BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico.  Tafoya, who has covered the NFL for more than 10 years, is entering her third season as a sideline reporter for NBC after seven years with ABC and ESPN as a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football.

Serving as the backdrop for BIG BREAK NFL PUERTO RICO will be the luxurious Dorado Beach Resort in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.  Produced in partnership with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the series will unfold on the resort’s historic East Course, a par-72 layout that features panoramic sight lines of the Atlantic Ocean on 15 of 18 holes.  Originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, the course was recently redesigned by Robert Trent Jones II, bringing the classic seaside course into the 21st century.

Past BIG BREAK champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, including the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Canadian Tour.

Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, BIG BREAK VII: REUNION champion and PGA TOUR professional, captured his first PGA TOUR victory in 2012 at The McGladrey Classic and is playing full-time on the PGA TOUR.  Gerina Piller (BIG BREAK PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND competitor) competed in the 2013 Solheim Cup, representing Team U.S.A. as a Captain’s Pick.  2011 Solheim Cup team member Ryann O’Toole (BIG BREAK SANDALS RESORTS competitor) and 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Kristy McPherson (BIG BREAK VI: TRUMP NATIONAL competitor) also are currently playing full-time on the LPGA Tour.  Several other past BIG BREAK competitors are currently competing on the world’s top tours, including Matt Every (PGA TOUR), James Nitties and Mark Silvers (Web.com Tour) and Kim Welch, Nicole Smith, Kelly Jacques (LPGA Tour).

Become a fan of BIG BREAK on Facebook at: facebook.com/GolfChannel.BigBreak

Follow BIG BREAK on Twitter @BigBreak

About Golf Channel

As the fastest-growing network on television, Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies. As part of the NBC Sports Group, professional golf coverage on NBC is branded “Golf Channel on NBC,” further extending the Golf Channel brand to NBC’s broadcast audiences. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s best news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.

About Dorado Beach Resort

Dorado Beach Resort is a resort community in Puerto Rico inspired by the vision of its original developer, Laurance S. Rockefeller. Nestled on 1,400 acres of lush tropical forest overlooking golden sand beaches, Dorado Beach is home to the only Ritz Carlton Reserve and Residences in the western hemisphere. Secluded and private, Dorado Beach was recently selected as one of the top 100 resort destinations in the world and features 54 holes of golf designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. along with The Watermill, a private waterpark that can be enjoyed by every member of the family. Offering a full array of sports, activities, and culinary experiences, Dorado Beach has re-emerged as one of the world's finest luxury resort destinations.

About Puerto Rico Tourism Company

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), founded in 1970, is a public corporation responsible for stimulating, promoting and regulating the development of the tourism industry.  It markets Puerto Rico as a tourism destination through advertising, public relations and promotional activities; promotes tourism among local residents; provides visitor orientation and technical assistance to investors; evaluates tourism facilities and establishes standards of quality; and regulates and oversees gaming operations.  PRTC has offices and representatives in the U.S. mainland, Canada, Europe and Latin America.

Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

"The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).


Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

“Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

Getty Images

McIlroy gets back on track

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

He is well ahead of schedule.

Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

“Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

“I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

Everything in his life is lined up.

Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Getty Images

Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.