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The Ringer

Big Break Atlantis; Yani Tseng
Getty Images

Every season that I produce Big Break, I plan on keeping a shoot diary to help me out when I write blogs for the series. Somehow, between the early morning wake up calls, and the late night interviews, it never happens.

Looking back, I remember my sense of relief that the Yani Tseng breakfast reveal went off without a hitch. Keeping a guest of Yani’s caliber under wraps at a resort the size of Atlantis, seems simple, but it always adds quite a bit of stress to the situation. Completely blindsiding the contestants was a great feat of logistical work by our production staff, involving a lot of early call times for everyone from PA’s and Production Managers to Make-up artists and Cameramen. With breakfast behind us, we just had to get the first two challenges done on schedule, so Yani could make her afternoon flight back to the US, and then we’d be home free!

The level of excitement on the range that morning was palpable. Everyone knew they were either going to be playing the challenge in front of Yani Tseng, or she’d be on the bench watching them play against her. The competitors didn’t know the exact details of the challenge until they got to the hole they were playing. (i.e. that morning we told them to prepare to hit a tee shot and an approach, no putting) That way they warm up the right part of their game, but we maintain that constant element of uncertainty we need to get reactions for twists and reveals of cool/new challenges.

Wind was a major concern that day. Our flop wall location was on the 8th green right on the ocean, so the wall would be receiving the full force of the prevailing winds. At the crew breakfast that morning, the Producers actually agreed on a backup challenge, in case the wall couldn’t be put up safely. During the first immunity challenge, the Art Department prepped the flop wall, and a special pane of glass that we had for Yani to break. Shortly after the ladies got to the range to warm up for the second challenge, we got the good word, the wall was up, and it wasn’t going to move in the wind.

One of the things I’ve heard over and over during the seven seasons I’ve worked on Big Break, is how much pressure the golfers feel over every shot. Nothing drove the point home to me personally, than hearing the number one player on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and a five time major winner, talking about how much pressure she felt to play well for her team in the first challenge, and then to hit great mulligans in the second challenge. The pressure of playing on Big Break is completely unlike anything else in the golf world.

Just want to close by extending our thanks to Yani for being a part of the show, it was a thrilling experience for the ladies, and great day for us as we got to watch the World No. 1 up close.