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


Getty Images

LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

Getty Images

Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

Getty Images

Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.