Golf Channel Set to Kick Off Inaugural Big Break Invitational Tournament at Reynolds Plantation

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 29, 2014, 11:30 pm

A field of 40 former Big Break competitors will go head-to-head in full tournament conditions for the first time at the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, a four-day invitational tournament airing live on Golf Channel Tuesday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. ET.

Taking place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation  in Lake Oconee, Ga., the field of 40 (20 men and 20 women) represent 20 seasons of Big Break, including several of the series’ most memorable competitors who are playing on the world’s top professional tours.  The four-round tournament will feature a Modified Stableford format for the first two rounds, followed by match play (third round), and concluding with stroke play (final round) to determine the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation champion. 15 Big Break champions are entered in the field for Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation.

The field includes:

Men

Robbie Biershenk                 Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

David Byrne                         Big Break Indian Wells (2010)  Champion

Brian Cooper                        Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Don Donatello                      Big Break II (2004)

Kent Eger                              Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

Tony Finau                           Big Break Disney Golf (2009)

Tommy Gainey                     Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe (2005); Big Break VII: Reunion (2007) Champion

Derek Gillespie                     Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009) Champion

Kip Henley                            Big Break II (2004) Champion

Hugo Leon                            Big Break X: Michigan (2008)

Brent Long                            Big Break Mexico (2013)

Mark Murphy                        Big Break Ireland (2011) Champion

James Nitties                        Big Break Mesquite (2007)

Justin Peters                         Big Break I (2003) Champion

Jerry Rice                             Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion

Anthony Rodriguez              Big Break Mesquite (2008); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)            

Isaac Sanchez                      Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)  Champion

Mark Silvers                         Big Break Greenbrier (2012) Champion

Julien Trudeau                     Big Break Ireland (2011)

Jay Woodson                        Big Break Mexico (2013)

Women

Anya Alvarez                        Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Mallory Blackwelder             Big Break Ireland (2011); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Sara Brown                           Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Taylor Collins                       Big Break Mexico (2013) Champion

Selanee Henderson              Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Stefanie Kenoyer                  Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)        

Tonya McCall                       Big Break Florida (2014)

Kristy McPherson                 Big Break VI: Trump National (2006)

Mary Narzisi                         Big Break Florida (2014)

Carling Nolan                       Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)  Champion

Blair O’Neal                          Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)  Champion

Ryann O’Toole                     Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Gerina Piller                          Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009)       

Elena Robles                        Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Sadena Parks                       Big Break Florida (2014)

Renee Skidmore                  Big Break Florida (2014)

Jackie Stoelting                   Big Break Florida (2014) Champion

Emily Talley                        Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion

Maiya Tanaka                      Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Kim Welch                           Big Break Ka’anapali (2008) Champion

 

The field entered into Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation represent several of the most successful players coming out of Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series.  On the men’s side:

  • Tommy Gainey (Big Break VII: Reunion Champion) was the first Big Break competitor to earn full PGA TOUR status after Big Break, and won the PGA TOUR’s McGladrey Classic in 2012. 
  • Tony Finau (Big Break Disney Golf) earned his PGA TOUR card for 2015 after capturing his first professional victory this year on the Web.com Tour.
  • James Nitties (Big Break Mesquite) is currently playing full time on the Web.com Tour, and is a past Web.com Tour winner who earned PGA TOUR status in 2012. 
  • Jay Woodson (Big Break Mexico) has several top-5 finishes and one win on the 2014 NGA Tour. 
  • Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice, who along with fellow Big Break teammates Isaac Sanchez and Emily Talley won Big Break NFL Puerto Rico in 2013, also is entered in the field.

On the women’s side:

  • Kristy McPherson (Big Break VI: Trump National), Ryann O’Toole (Big Break Sandals Resorts) and Gerina Piller (Big Break Prince Edward Island) are all currently playing full time on the LPGA Tour and are past U.S. Solheim Cup Team members – 2009, 2011 and 2013, respectively. 
  • Sadena Parks (Big Break Florida) earned full LPGA Tour status in 2015 after winning two Symetra Tour events over the course of three weeks in July in only her second full season as a professional. 
  • Mallory Blackwelder (Big Break Ireland; Big Break NFL Puerto Rico) won her first professional tournament on the Symetra Tour this year in April and earned full status on the LPGA Tour for 2015.
  • Jackie Stoelting (Big Break Florida champion) earned full status on the LPGA Tour for 2015 by finishing No. 3 in the Symetra Tour standings in 2014.
  • Tonya McCall (Big Break Florida) won her first professional event on the Cactus Tour in April in her first full year back on the professional golf circuit.

Fifteen past Big Break champions are entered in Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, including Justin Peters and Kip Henley, the series’ first two champions, in 2003 and 2004.  Peters currently is playing full time on the mini tour circuit and PGA TOUR Canada, while Henley is a full-time caddie on the PGA TOUR.

Tom Abbott, host of Golf Channel’s Big Break reality competition series, will host the tournament telecast.  PGA TOUR winner Matt Gogel will join Abbott in the broadcast booth as lead analyst.  LPGA Tour veteran and Big Break co-host Paige Mackenzie will serve as an analyst and course reporter during the week.  Also reporting from the course will be Phil Parkin, former PGA Championship winner (2002) Rich Beem, and former PLAYERS Champion (2002) Craig Perks.

Beginning a new multi-year relationship between Golf Channel and Reynolds Plantation, Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will take place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation, the famed golf resort community in Greensboro, Ga., and will feature a $300,000 overall purse, with $100,000 going to the champion.  The Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation will serve as host resort and tournament headquarters.

Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will air live on Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 3.  The first two rounds will feature a Modified Stableford format (players earning points for birdie and higher and negative points for bogey and lower), with the 12 men and 12 women earning the most points after the first two rounds making the cut.  Thursday’s third round will feature match play (six men vs. six men / six women vs. six women), with 12 match-play winners advancing to Friday’s final round of 18-holes of stroke play.

For the past 21 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad of many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers. The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During the series’ 21 seasons, 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. 

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.