Almost Home… West Virginia. Country Roads…Take me home to the place I belong… West Virginia!
Although John Denver was born in New Mexico and lived most of his life in California he nailed it when he sang about West Virginia and all the beauty it possesses. White Sulphur Springs, WV and the Greenbrier Resort was the place we belonged for the better part of June filming the newest season of Big Break.
Welcome back fans to the 18th edition of Big Break … Greenbrier! It’s my distinct pleasure to inform you that you are in for a treat. We have a cast of 12 amazing golfers whose talents on the course were a pleasure to witness.
We have 2 NCAA National champions (James and Liam)… a gentle giant (Isaac)… a man looking to put behind him a dark and troubled past (Stuart) and so many more! Two players with U.S. Open experience (Mark and Mike), over 75 mini-tour victories and over nearly 68 collegiate victories (Chan, Brian and Derek), a former rugby/Web.com Tour member (Ray), a pro-shop attendant who left his pregnant wife to compete on the series (Anthony) and a guy who is trying to outshine a major champion family member (Rick).
These 12 men put on a show and displayed golfing abilities and talents never before seen on Big Break. And it is my pleasure (along with my co-producers/editors and production staff) to bring this series to you.
I’ve worked on 13 seasons of this show and I will declare that this series will go down as the best golfing cast of all time. Big Break Mesquite (Matt Every – PGA Tour, James Nitties – Web.com Tour, Anthony Rodriguez – Web.com Tour – quick shout outs to Mesquite cast members not on tour: Benoit, Hiroshi and the champion of Mesquite- Brian Kontak all of whom are still touring or teaching touring players) currently hold the distinction of the best cast ever but these ‘West Viriginia’ boys will overtake them in due time. Consider my words marked.
We interviewed over 723 golfers and sifted through nearly 3,200 applications to finally come away with our cast. We were not disappointed.
We had great weather (aside from a few drops here and there) and had even better course conditions. I’ve been fortunate enough to play a lot of golf and see many of the world’s best courses and the four Greenbrier courses easily made my list.
Here are a few behind-the-scenes tidbits that won’t give anything away:
• During the practice round on The Greenbrier Classic home course (Old White TPC) the highest score was +3 (73)… the lowest round was a 63 (Rick) just 4 off the course record set by Stuart Appleby in 2010 (59).
• The Greenbrier Resortsits about 2,800 feet above sea-level – some players had issues adjusting to the altitude and based on player’s inability to adjust… it would end up costing him. He was subsequently eliminated.
• One player develops a strong affinity for the grass at the Greenbrier (Chan).
• Derek Bohlen can hit a driver farther than I can hit 2… Rick Cochran can hit a driver farther than I can hit 3!
• Isaac Sanchez has the best touch around the green… he’s 6’6” – 300+… that’s impressive.
• Liam Friedman KILLS it for a shorter guy and has one of the quickest releases on the greens.
• Anthony Casalino will hit 3 shots from 150 inside 10 feet and then can shank his next shot and still make par.
• Mark Silvers swing should go down in the Geoff Ogilvy Smooth Swing Hall of Fame.
• Ray Beaufils and Brian Cooper live in the same city, practice at the same course but never met until they came on the show.
• Mike Tobiason won 23 times in college… and still maintained his basketball skills enough to lead his team in rebounding.
• Stuart Gold is the funniest dude I’ve met in a long time. During the practice round he realized he forgot his wedge at home and had his wife to send him his back-up . It arrived just in time for the filming to start.
• James Lepp sometimes hits chip shots and bunker shots…even putts with his eyes closed.
Tune in Wednesday at 9PM ET for a special Big Break Greenbrier Preview show. This will be your first chance to get to know the 12 talented guys who will be competing for their chance to play at The Greenbrier Resort tournament next year. Watch the season premiere of Big Break Greenbrier on Tuesday, Oct 2 at 9PM ET.