Gamesmanship and Eliminations


The Big Break VIIIf somehow, somewhere Seve Ballesteros was watching the second episode of The Big Break VII: Reunion, he is smiling. Not because contestant Mark Farnham imitated the Spaniards accent. And certainly not due to Cindy Millers trouble in the fairway bunker that cost her a spot on the show.
Seves grin would have come from Gary Ostregas effort at gamesmanship to stave off elimination from the series. The man who was notorious for a quick walk and jingling pocket change during Ryder Cup matches might have laughed out loud when Ostrega shuffled sand to distract Farnham during the final challenge from a fairway bunker.
Ostrega, however, wasnt amused that his dismissal from the series came at the hand of who he considers an inferior opponent. Calling Farnham a hooter and a clown, he was a bit condescending in defeat.
I would hope the better player would prevail, said Ostrega, who had a brief stint on the PGA TOUR from 1977-79 and currently is a golf instructor. He is trying to survive and Im trying to win the whole thing. Its a different mindset.
Time will tell. But its Farnham who survived the three-tiered Elimination Challenge and is still in the series with a chance to win a tournament exemption. If one of the eight male professionals is victorious, then he will either earn a spot in the field of the 2007 Cox Classic on the Nationwide Tour or the 2008 Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach on the Champions Tour. Should one of the eight females claim the title, then she will be invited to compete in the 2007 Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika on the LPGA Tour.
Never a candidate to be voted most popular at this reunion, Ostrega doesnt seem to play well with others. Ashley Gomes observed his act firsthand on The Big Break VI: Trump National and looked forward to the opportunity to play against him. Her chance came early as she partnered with Don Donatello to defeat the Ostrega / Miller team and send them to the Elmination Challenge. Competitions in Big Break VII are team events with the losing teams going an Elimination Challenge. Once there, teams are split and males compete against males and female take on other females.
I was excited about playing against Gary in the first challenge because he underestimates women on the golf course, said Gomes. He is more confident in himself than he should be. He talks a big game and I havent seen him back it up.
Guess hes not a ladies man. But what about the other male contestants? Wouldnt the boys bond and be buds? Maybe not.
Everybody was rooting for Mark (Farnham) and so was I, said the mild mannered Mike Foster, who teamed with Kim Lewellen to send Farnham and Laura London in the Elimination Challenge.
Ostrega and Miller are the first of the 16 contestants to be eliminated from the series. The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in challenges that test physical skills and mental toughness. During The Big Break VII, competitors will be eliminated with the last one standing crowned the winner.
Shot at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla., each show will feature two to three challenges, the outcome of each influencing who stays and who goes home. Each challenge will demand precision shot-making designed to simulate conditions that players face every week on tour.
As for Farnham, he was as gracious in victory as Ostrega was abrasive in defeat. The lone competitor from the original Big Break and a Chief Operating Officer at a distributing company in Chicago, Ill., he has no illusion about the talent gap in the series. As Big Break seasons progressed players were more accomplished. From the first six episodes, three of which involved females, six players are currently playing on the LPGA Tour this season.
He probably needed to learn the lesson that sometimes the best player doesnt always win, Farnham said. Sometimes the right players win. Today the right player won.
More to the point, Londons, who eliminated Miller, message to Ostrega was, Mark just kicked your butt. Sorry.
Ask the remaining contestants and they would tell you Seve couldnt have said it any better.
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