Tee to Greens Behind the Scenes


I just keep getting lucky with the episodes I get to work on. We’re at the midway point in Big Break Dominican Republic, and the competitive spirit of the competitors is erupting. In the beginning, all of the players vowed to keep their cool—especially since they have all been here before on past Big Breaks. That is hard with $100,000 and a major tour exemption on the line, and the hope of redemption.

Anthony and Sara are nipping at each other, Elena and Andrew are butting heads, and tension is percolating between Elena and Lori, Christina and David and…well you get my point.

We threw a lot of curve balls at this season’s Big Breakers: a two strike rule, getting benched, strike erasers, a battle of the sexes. It’s a perfect blend for drama.

In episode 5, the guys are at their lowest point. You can feel their disappointment. I personally hate to see it, because I got to know these players on the course, in interviews and off camera, and my job is to help you get to know these players more personally on TV.

So, how do we Golf Channel producers do it? We give you more than just the competition. We also give you what we call verite’ moments. Basically, our camera ops roll on small interactions that reveal what’s going on inside the minds of the players. At Breakfast, Safe City, team huddles – these are the places where we get a behind-the- scenes peek at what’s going down in the Dominican Republic.

I love finding these in post production, and I think show 5 has a few entertaining ones, like Brian wanting to cheer “dominate” in segment 1 before the Increasing Length Challenge. Just seeing the other guys humorously deny Brian weaves us into a situational comedic nugget. Then, when Anthony is fed up after Brian’s “missing the green is like missing my face with a fork” comment – it doesn’t get more real.

Now, we also know why you really tune in to Big Break: the unique challenges. This show has some interesting ones, starting with the Increasing Length Challenge. I remember just being amazed at the 12 successful shots the women made—really awesome.

Then there’s the Limbo Wall.”  At first, I thought that hitting it under 8 feet wouldn’t be a problem for our seasoned players, but I was surprised when A-Rod and Sara missed the green in the first round. They are seasoned tour players, and it just goes to show how much pressure is added on Big Break.

Finally, there is the Match My Shot challenge. Again, it’s shocking to see Blake and Andrew get so close (9’ 4”), only to then witness Sara hit it 6’ 5” from Lori’s ball effectively beating the boys…again. You can’t script this kind of suspense and drama. Now don’t forget, in show 5 the players get rained out. Andrew and Elena have to sleep on it before competing in the Benching Challenge in the next show called Water Under The Bridge. Stay tuned.