$50K or Exemption?


I’m in the business of making golfer’s dreams come true.  That statement may sound a little profound but I believe it to be the truth. I (along with many talented people) produce a series that help struggling professional golfers realize their dream of playing on the PGA TOUR.  That’s our sales pitch to the over 3,400 people that tried out for this show. And for the 12 guys we selected, their dream is exactly what is on the line– a spot in the field to tee it up with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and many other world class players. That and $50K… not to mention a whole assortment of other great prizes.

With that said, I think it’s safe to say my statement holds water. We are in the business of making golfer’s dreams come true.

The reason I bring up the prize package and the PGA TOUR exemption is because I wanted to give you insight as to what our cast valued more.  When asked the question (ask yourself as well):

If you could have only ONE of the following what would you take?

            $50,000 or a PGA TOUR exemption?

The cast of Greenbrier overwhelmingly replied EXEMPTION!  I thought maybe one or two guys might have said the cash but all 12 went with the exemption.  Their reasoning: the possibilities of a spot in the field on the PGA Tour can be endless for guys like them.  So when the players are talking about pressure, the nature of Big Break and how ‘under-the-gun’ they feel from their 1st shot to their last, that’s what they’re thinking about… they’re thinking about being so close to their dream they can taste it and they don’t want to screw it up.

That’s what Big Break is all about to our cast and how it mirrors my sentiment towards a series I love so much. 

Onto the show.

Glass Break

This was a very cool challenge that took over a month to finalize.  In the end, it came out like we hoped.  We wanted to know which players were the gamblers (Isaac, Rick, Liam, James, Brian), which players were the cerebral-thinking types (Chan, Mike, Mark) and the ones who flew by the seat of their pants (Anthony, Derek, Stuart, Ray).

This challenge was tough for the competitors not only from a golfing stand-point but from a mental standpoint which is the goal for any Big Break challenge. Quick facts/Comments: Ray Beaufils goes down as the 1st player in Big Break history to attempt a throw while in competition during the glass break.

James’ breaking of the glass may be the fastest ever in Big Break history… it was certainly the most impressive 1st shot I’ve seen on Big Break.  25 yards away, 1 shot – break – thanks for coming.  Not bad for guy who has stepped away from 2 years ago to start his own shoe company.

Liam and Rick both broke their panes at the exact same time…down to the hundredth. When we went to record Liam’s time, we were as surprised as he was… if not more.

Anthony “that’s how you break glass” Casalino! His new son will be quite proud of Dad when he greets the world sometime in December.


We did something very similar to this challenge at Big Break Disney but I much prefer this format.  I liked that each guy got 2 shots; I loved the choice element where the players chose their distances and I was NOT surprised that 310 was the lowest ‘SAFE’ score.  Kudos to Mike for employing a very ballsy strategy.  As a former college basketball player and career 75% free throw shooter, Mike’s thinking when he saw the challenge – it’s a free throw contest – hit the same 2 shots, move on.

Isaac is the biggest gambler on the cast and ALWAYS tries to win a challenge.  2nd place (to quote one of Rick Cochran’s favorite Will Ferrell characters) is never good enough: “if you’re not 1st, you’re last.”

Mark’s combined distance on his two shots (proximity to the hole from 154/195 yards) was 18 feet 10 inches. That’s pretty good considering his 1st shot measured a little less than 15 feet.

Derek chose two distances he felt were perfect for him.  Standing next to him, he hit the center of the clubface on both shots.  But he forgot to factor in the adrenaline factor and it cost him.  Normal 9 iron for Derek = 154 (show 1 distance: 173 yards).  Normal 6 iron for Derek = 188 (show 1 distance: 201 yards).


I was completely shocked by Derek’s pick of Isaac.  On the range the entire cast was saying he HAS to choose Stu.  They were commenting that Stu had missed both shots in the approach challenge worse than Isaac and Derek’s length, especially on a par-five, favors D-Boh (as he’s known on the mini-tours).  MAKE NO MISTAKE, Stu can golf his ball and was absolutely killing it on the range.  He remains an enigma to the cast and even for us producers.  On any given challenge, no one knows which Stu will show up… I have to believe Derek will always wonder if he made the right decision.