When Everything Goes Wrong Ill Make it Right

By Big Break ProducerJune 5, 2012, 2:00 am

It’s that time again, kids.  Time for another round of incoherent thoughts and ramblings from yours truly, Senior Big Break Producer, Brendan Havens.  Two weeks ago, fellow Producer, Jon Painter, took you inside the challenge of hiding the #1 player in the world; and last week Scott Lee lamented about having to work…rather than go down Atlantis’s many waterslides.  Well, I’m back this week to talk with you wonderful people about an inevitability that hangs over us every day of our lives whilst engaged in every facet of this massive production known as Big Break.  What do you do when things go wrong?

I feel it’s time to bring this up, because this was an episode where some things certainly did go wrong.  Most of the missteps are completely undetectable by 99% of the viewing public.  Yet, some are much more obvious than others.  Let’s start with the obvious, shall we?

Aubrey’s lone experience with Speed Golf was…um…well…as Tom so eloquently put it “this has gone absolutely pear shaped for her”.  Yup.  This was clearly one of the things that did go wrong.  This type of thing happens, and there’s really not much we can do about it.  The competitors are all human, and once the human element is introduced into the equation, the answer you’re looking for doesn’t necessarily add up correctly; and in Aubrey’s case, we definitely needed a calculator to check our math (literally and figuratively).

Whereas Aubrey’s misfortunes were a very visual representation of what can go wrong, the challenge that followed the entertainment juggernaut known as Speed Golf went on to become a prime example of a challenge that went horribly wrong….but you’d never know it by the final product.  The challenge I speak of is Lone Wolf.  If Ahab had his white whale, Lone Wolf was my white wolf.

The idea first came about because I would play the weekend-golfer gambling version of this game with my friends. It’s a really fun game to play (especially when a few adult beverages have been consumed), so naturally I thought, hey…we should do this as a challenge on Big Break. 

The first incarnation of Big Break’s version of Lone Wolf dates way back to late 2007 as we were coming up with new challenge ideas for Big Break Ka’anapali.  The original idea was to play it exactly the way a game of Wolf would be played in a weekend round with your buddies (4 people, full holes of golf).  It proved to be too much challenge to fit in a show and was scratched from the final show plan.  So, we did what we traditionally do with unused challenges and sent it away to the Island of Misfit Challenges, in the wonderful world of Imaginationland. 

Every time we begin pre-production on another Big Break, we take a trip to this mystical island and take a good look at those challenges formerly cast away.  In every one of my subsequent seasons, this bear (or should I say wolf) of a challenge continued to resurface…only to be cast away time after time.  Finally, nearly 5 years later, and numerous format/rules changes later, Lone Wolf was finally going to be saved from desertion once again.  Here’s where things begin to go horribly wrong.

The first sign that this challenge would be, well…a challenge, was when we explained the rules to the girls.  We all had assumed that anyone who’s ever played the game of golf on a regular basis knows the game of Wolf and our rules tweaks would be handled quite easily.  Selanee was the only one who had ever played the game before and much confusion would ensue.  Well, you know how the ol’ saying goes.  When you assume…

The point structure definitely didn’t help with things either.  I understand why we gave more points to the Lone Wolf for a tie, but in hindsight, all 3 competitors should have just split the 6 points in that situation.  The whole 4, 1, 1 thing just confused the heck out of everyone.  Now I tell you what, one of the worst parts of doing a challenge that nobody fully understands is trying to get the soundbites you need from the interview later that evening.  Let’s just say, we all stayed up later than we would have liked.

To me, the biggest oversight in doing this challenge was going with the game of Lone Wolf to begin with.  The main reason this game works so well with your buddies is that it helps the lesser skilled players in the group keep up and not get their wallets totally cleaned out by the end of the round.  The best example of this is the fact that Kelly actually had a chance to win Immunity during the final location.  She didn’t really hit a single quality shot in the entire challenge, to be perfectly honest…yet she still had a chance to save herself.  Sure, as we’ve all seen in this series over the years, this type of thing will happen in a team challenge, but the difference in that scenario is that the player (or players) hitting the quality shots on the team win Immunity as well.  Essentially, by Selanee holing two huge putts, Kelly was not only bailed out, but was given the opportunity to win Immunity AND actually send Selanee to the Elimination Challenge.  This concept works great for a few bucks between hackers on the weekend…not so much when a gigantic prize package is on the line.

In that sense, we did not execute this particular challenge the way in which we would have liked, but really…it did work out in the end.  Gloriana and Natalia were the two who played the best and won Immunity and you know what…the challenge was pretty darn entertaining. 

And so it goes.  That’s life of a TV Producer.  When everything goes wrong, you just have to find a way to make it right.  You meticulously plan for months on end just so everything can succeed as you’ve envisioned in that wonderful, though sometimes highly unrealistic, Imaginationland command center of our brain.  Unfortunately, the laws of physics don’t apply in Imaginationland and that’s where we can run into these afore mentioned snags.  Lone Wolf spent so much time in Imaginationland, it lost much of what would have made it really work in reality.  So, long story short, don’t expect to see Lone Wolf ever again…

Getty Images

Match-by-match: 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 1

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 6:32 pm

Here is how things played out on Day 1 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play:

Group 15: (15) Pat Perez vs. (50) Si Woo Kim, halved: The first match of the day ended up in a draw, as the top seed rallied from a deficit to salvage half a point. Kim won three of the first six holes and held a 3-up lead with seven holes to go, but Perez fought back with four birdies over the next six holes to draw even.

Group 15: (24) Gary Woodland vs. (37) Webb Simpson, halved: This group remains entirely up for grabs since nothing was decided on the opening day. Woodland took a 3-up lead at the turn, but Simpson rallied by winning four of the next seven holes, including a birdie on No. 17 that brought him back to all square for the first time since the third hole.

Getty Images

Watch: Thomas saves par from impossible position

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 21, 2018, 5:18 pm

Luke List was just hoping for an opening in his Day 1 match against Justin Thomas at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Thomas cracked the door on the par-4 ninth, but then quickly slammed it shut. Thomas, 3 up through eight holes, was in terrible shape after two shots at No. 9. But his third shot was a beauty, and a heartbreaker for List.

Thomas made the putt to halve the hole and make the turn 3 up.

Getty Images

LPGA's new Q-Series to offer deferrals for amateurs

By Randall MellMarch 21, 2018, 4:36 pm

The LPGA’s new Q-Series, which takes the place of the final stage of Q-School beginning this year, will come with a revolutionary new twist for amateurs.

For the first time, the LPGA will offer deferrals that will allow amateurs to win tour membership in December but delay turning pro until the following June or July, tour commissioner Mike Whan told GolfChannel.com.

It’s a notable change, because the deferral will allow a collegiate player to earn tour membership at the end of this year but retain amateur status to finish out her collegiate spring season next year, before joining the tour.

“We haven’t done that in the past, because we didn’t want an onslaught, where every player in college is trying to join the tour,” Whan said.

The way it worked in the past, a collegian could advance through the final stage of Q-School, but if that player earned the right to a tour card and wanted to take up membership, she had to declare after the final round that she was turning pro. It meant the player would leave her college team in the middle of the school year. It was a particularly difficult decision for players who earned conditional LPGA status, and it played havoc with the makeup of some college teams.

Whan said the revamped Q-Series format won’t create the collegiate stampede that deferrals might have in the past.

“It will take a unique talent to show up at the first stage of Q-School and say, ‘I’ll see you at Q-Series,’” Whan said. “There won’t be a lot of amateurs who make it there.”

Under the new qualifying format, there will continue to be a first and second stage of Q-School, but it will be much harder to advance to the final stage, now known Q-Series.

Under the old format, about 80 players advanced from the second stage to the Q-School finals. Under the new format, only 15 to 25 players from the second stage will advance to the Q-Series, and only a portion of those are likely to be collegians.

Under the new format, a maximum of 108 players will meet at the Q-Series finals, where a minimum of 45 tour cards will be awarded after 144 holes of competition, played over two weeks on two different courses. The field will include players who finished 101st to 150th and ties on the final LPGA money list, and players who finished 11th to 30th and ties on the final Symetra Tour money list. The field will also include up to 10 players from among the top 75 of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and the top five players on the Golfweek Women’s Collegiate Rankings.

“We feel if you make it to the Q-Series finals as a college player, you are probably among the best of the best, and we ought to give you the opportunity to finish the college year,” Whan said.

University of Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur said she would prefer amateurs not be allowed to compete at Q-School, but she called this a workable compromise.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Mulflur said. “It’s better than the way it’s been in the past. That was hard, because it broke up teams.”

Mulflur said she disliked the tough position the former policy put college players in at the final stage of Q-School, where they had to decide at event’s end whether to turn pro and accept tour membership.

“I can’t imagine being a kid in that position, and I’ve had a couple kids in that position,” Mulflur said. “It’s hard on everybody, the player, the family and the coaches. You hear about coaches standing there begging a kid not to turn pro, and that’s just not the way it should be, for the coach or the player.”

Mulflur agreed with Whan that the new Q-Series format should limit the number of collegians who have a chance to win tour cards.

“I believe it’s a good compromise, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out going forward,” Mulflur said. “Kudos to the commissioner for giving kids this option.”

University of Miami coach Patti Rizzo, a four-time LPGA winner, applauds the deferral option. Two years ago, Rizzo lost her best player, Danny Darquea, who turned pro in the spring. It hurt Miami’s team.

“That was probably our best chance in seven years to win the nationals,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo said her concerns seeing a player turn pro go beyond how it affects her team.

“What all these girls need to realize now is that a degree is more important than ever,” Rizzo said. “In my day, it was like, 'My chances are pretty good. I will get my card.’ But it’s so much more competitive now. And financially, it’s hard to make it. I think it’s so much harder than it ever was. So many girls aren’t making it, and they need a backup plan.”

Darquea is playing the Symetra Tour now, but Rizzo said she is also back in Miami taking classes to finish up her final semester and get her degree.

“It’s great she is doing that, but it would have been better if she could have stayed in college three more months and got her degree and then turned pro,” Rizzo said. “I think this deferral option is great, and I would think all the college coaches will think so, too.”

Whan said collegians who take deferrals will be counseled.

“We will sit down with them and their families and explain the risks,” Whan said. “If you take a deferral and start playing on July 15, you might find yourself back in Q-Series again later that year, because you may not have enough time.”

Getty Images

Tour still focused on security after death of suspected Austin bomber

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 4:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Although the suspect in the wave of Austin-area bombings was killed early Wednesday, the PGA Tour plans to continue heightened security measures at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

According to various news outlets, Mark Anthony Conditt has been identified as the bombings suspect, and he was killed by an explosion inside his car in Round Rock, Texas, which is 19 miles north of Austin Country Club.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

“We do not comment on the specifics of our security measures, but we are continuing to work in close collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Austin to ensure the safety of our players and fans at this week’s tournament,” the Tour said in a statement. “Regardless of the recent developments, our heightened security procedures will remain in place through the remainder of the week.”

Authorities believe Conditt is responsible for the five explosions that killed two people and injured five others in Austin or south-central Texas since March 2.

Play began Wednesday at the Match Play.