One by one, Big Break Ireland competitors have been eliminated from the Emerald Isle in a wind storm of great golf, unexpected challenges, and a twist no one saw coming.
Episode 5 is called “Erin Go Bragh: Ireland Forever”. Ireland may be “forever” but staying on Big Break isn’t. Whitney, Annie, Matt, & Kelly’s luck ran out and Bennett ended up getting appendicitis. Of all the things competitors think might eliminate them, getting sick isn’t one of them.
Team Liffey was down after losing three shows in a row to Team Straffan, and during breakfast, the fire in Team Liffey’s eyes burned. Mark is done talking, Andy knows talk is cheap, and Mallory is just sick of going into Elimination. She and I often laughed off camera about her title as “The Eliminator” and we both found it odd that there seemed to be a target on her back. Too bad for those who chose her, because each one of them missed and Mallory retained her title.
Nina’s failure to deliver on Hole #17 and Joe’s unlucky wild card draw of that same hole, put Joe in a no win situation. He had to eagle on one of the hardest holes in golf. The 17th hole is set right next to the River Liffey and that river swallows golf balls. Even Thomas Bjorn had 11 strokes on this Par 4, hitting his ball into the water several times in 2005. Joe fell to the same fate and ended up going into The Elimination Round. Joe had a decision to make and everyone thought his choice was going to be more than obvious…he had to pick Nina.
Then there’s the twist. Joe selects Julien after Nina played what Andy referred to as “less than stellar golf.” Everyone was shocked. We didn’t know what to make of Joe’s decision. Then I started thinking about it. If you believe in your game, and you think you have what it takes to win Big Break Ireland, then you would want to eliminate one of the strongest players on the show: Julien Trudeau. Julien’s performance has been solid and if Joe wanted to win Big Break Ireland, then he’d have to face Julien sooner or later - unless someone else eliminated Julien first – which is the real shocker because Joe could still be in the competition had he selected Nina and defeated her. But even that wasn’t a guarantee. As we’ve seen, Nina is driven, skilled, and fiery. She knows how to fight. She had something to prove and perhaps Joe thought that the element of surprise could have possibly given him the upper hand against Julien.
In the end on Hole #16, Julien made birdie and Joe beat himself by repeating a left hook into the River Liffey. One shot was the difference. That’s exactly what’s great and frustrating about competing on Big Break – expect the unexpected. We said farewell to a great golfer and a great guy: Joe Campbell.