Chaos Theory

By TJ Hubbard, Big Break ProducerOctober 19, 2010, 10:58 pm

Many of you don't know who Edward Lorenz is (I know I didn't as of a few hours ago), and based on his life and his impact on yours and mine, it's sad that Professor Lorenz (as he was commonly referred to at MIT) isn't more famous. Lorenz is the 'father of chaos theory' and taught meteorology for many decades at MIT. In 1972 he wrote a paper that will have many of you slapping your heads collectively saying, “I've heard of that.” The title of that paper: 'Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?.'  Light bulb go off yet? Edward Lorenz is the 'father' of Chaos Theory and the 'Butterfly Effect.' What does this mean to you? For one, it's a cocktail hour piece of trivia, and two, it's my interpretation for why the women have been kicking butt for the last few episodes.

The thesis for this blog is that Sara's illness (that began during the Benching Challenge between Lori and David in show two) is my butterfly flapping its wings, setting off a tornado of great golf by the women's team. It explains why the women have been beating up the men lately. That Butterfly Effect is Team Unity, something of which the women have a strong dose.

During the challenge, Lori kept checking in on Sara, concerned for her fallen teammate. Inspired by her illness and complete dislike for David, Lori helped continue the Butterfly Effect of good golf for the women by inevitably benching David. Lori said right after the challenge that she was doing it for Sara. Onto the next show. The ladies do not perform so well in the Team Challenge; however the mistake to call out Lori and Blair by Blake and Andrew led to an 'upset' victory and helped strengthen an already strong tornado (think Wizard of Oz type tornado). Added to the storm was the fact that the advantage was finally overcome and proved to us (and hopefully to you fans) that there are no sure or safe bets in golf and especially in Big Break. Thus, the Butterfly Effect continued onto the next show.

With Sara back, the women continued their dominance! And while we were surprised (the producers) that the women's death-grip on the men was tightening, the Benching Challenge clearly made us think that if these guys don't get their heads out of their @$$*$ then we could very well see this season come to a quick and abrupt end. It was very cool to see someone win and not have someone lose. The last two Benching Challenges have now been won with birdie(s), meaning good golf. That's what we hope for. That's what we aspire this show to be. As Brian says all the time, “may the best golf (or golf shots) win.”

David Mobley is now permanently benched with 2 strikes. Blake and Andrew also have a strike each. David has said that he feels both are better players than he, but his near chip-in in the second challenge would have made things interesting in the men's camp. They elected him captain, the guy who would make the final decision in the end. Had he chipped in, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that team conversation.

Inside scoop on the Elena, A-Rod and Andrew drama:

If you'll notice, no one was saying anything during their quick exchange. That’s because no one wanted to be involved, especially the ladies. Also, sorry about the poor camera coverage! Our one camera ran out of tape during the start of their back & forth, and when the camera was back up, David and Christina were standing in the way. We could have moved them, but then you ruin the moment. I interviewed all three, A-Rod after the challenge and Elena and Andrew that night.  Let's say there is no love flowing in either direction. Plus, you won't have to wait long to see one call out the other. Oh, I'm so excited! Seriously, Elena and one of those guys will match up, and it's not pretty! For whom? You'll have to see!

To close out, the Butterfly Effect is continuing four shows in. But will the storm stay strong or dissipate with quality golf by the men? The answer is yes.


Fun Facts: Our Shoot Date (06/20/2010) and Conditions:

-It rained every afternoon during filming after the Benching Challenge, but the morning/afternoons continued to bring great weather (85 degrees, 50-60% humidity).

-Same temperature in the states by city (same day, all degrees in Fahrenheit):

     --Washington D.C. 101

     --Los Angeles 95

     --Phoenix 111

     --NYC 99

     --Fairfield, CT (my hometown) 98

     --Chicago 93

     --Orlando (Golf Channel home) 94, 98% humidity

(How good is our life?)

-Ocean Temperature off 6th Hole on Teeth of the Dog: 84 degrees

-Number of golf balls in the water? Over 500! No joke, I went snorkeling after production wrapped! There were hundreds everywhere!


Fun Facts: Take A Chance Challenge:

-Football’s ball mark was 6 feet away from the hole in Take a Chance. That means he spun the ball 22.5 feet backwards!

-Lori's distance: 4'11' + A-Rod's distance: 6'1' = 11 feet. Together they could have taken the 12 feet and beaten it! They were great shots by the two best ball strikers on each team!


Fun Facts: Benching Challenge:

-Sara's combined distance for her two approach shots that led to her two birdies was 12'4'

-One of out four people have overcome the advantage in the Benching Challenge.

-The Team Challenge has to mean everything. This is a team competition!

-David Mobley hit his 3-wood 277 yards into the wind and uphill on the second Benching Challenge hole.


Strike Eraser Clarification:

-Question: Some of you may be asking about Strike Eraser strategy. We’ve received some questions like, 'Why didn't David putt it off the green to give himself another chance?' And, 'Why not chip closer to the hole to have a legitimate chance for a strike eraser?'

-Answer: All players had to sign a legal document mandating that any attempt for a Strike Eraser must be a 'legitimate attempt' toward the hole. David chipping out of the long grass to the tee box was allowed, because he had to circumvent our camera tower and a 15-foot high bush in front of him.


That's it for now!  All the best, TJ


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 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 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.

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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.

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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.