The morning started as most others, breakfast and chit chat, but we all realize how real this Big Break, as once again we were one less player at the table.
We had an interesting breakfast letter, one that was going to ruffle feathers to say the least, at least mine. The early morning first elimination was going to be a 'call out' session. We all had cards under our seats. The lower card was going to pick whom he wanted a 'show down' with, until all players were picked.
Something told me that when Mark didn't pick me – as we all assumed he would pick Anthony – the number two pick held by Chan, was going to be used to pick me. And low and behold it was me and I can say that I was not the least bit happy. Being called out is not a pleasant thing, worse when it comes from Chan. There are reasons behind my thoughts, but I was pissed and ready to send him a lullaby.
Simple rules. First player hits a shot in the fairway, next player hits and must hit his shot further and also in the fairway. Great elimination that made every player think his way through shots. It seemed that my fellow competitors started out somewhat cautiously, starting short and progressing to longer and longer shots. As I sat there, Ray and I agreed that it was time to up the elimination and just go for the jugular when it was our turns. As my match started and I was walking back to the tee, I was ready to send Chan a very direct message. That message being, “You picked me and I'm now going to show you that you made a mistake. A mistake that could send you home to eat all the grass that you want.”
As I stepped to the tee, I was going to my 'money' club, my 18 degree Adams utility wood. I know this surprised a few of the guys, but my mind was locked and loaded to hit this shot. I was so calm and ready and when that ball left the club, although not struck as solid as I would have liked, I knew the seed was planted. I hit a mediocre shot of 237 yards. I wasn't worried about what Chan was going to hit but knew he better hit a 3 wood to have any chance. When he picked a hybrid, I pretty much knew he had to hit his best or no chance. He hit it good, but it wasn't good enough and I did my job. I was safe and Chan was not. Lullaby sent.
Fortunately for me, I did not get to see the 2nd elimination because of a great excursion that Golf Channel provided for the winners of the first elimination. After watching the 2nd elimination on TV, I wish I would have seen it, because it was a very unique challenge and it would have been fun to watch the guys perform. I must say, Mike hit two GREAT shots and he deserved to advance.
Four players were up for elimination, Chan (the lowest), James, Stu and Anthony. Chan being the loser from the second elimination had the choice of choosing two players to join him in the elimination. I knew he wasn't going to pick James, so he chose Anthony and Stu. The challenge was four locations, total score and if there was a lone leader after 3 locations, he would automatically advance to the next show. Through three locations, Chan was the leader and therefore advanced to a episode four. But there was still much to be decided. Anthony and Stu had to play the remaining hole with Anthony holding a one stroke advantage. All Anthony had to do was halve the hole and he advanced. There was only one problem with that thought, Stu wasn't ready to go home yet. Anthony made par and Stu had about a 10 footer to send the match to extra holes and boom, that is exactly what he did. On the first extra hole, they both hit fair tee shots. Stu hit first and hit a good shot, just below the pin, about 10 feet again. Anthony, however hit a poor lob wedge to about 60 feet and the two putt was no gimme. Just when you think the match is swinging in a different direction, Anthony drains the bomb of his life. Stu had his destiny in his hands, but unfortunately, his putt slid by the high side and Stu's run on Big Break came to an end.
In closing, I must say that it was a pleasure and joy to get to meet and learn more about Stu. This young man has had a tough battle in his life, a battle that he will have for the remainder of his life and having dealt with a family member who had similar issues, I know golf is easy when it comes to this battle. I have faith in Stu and I'm happy to always be a lending ear to him. As for Anthony, he played great and needs to have more inner confidence. He deserves to believe in himself more than he does.