Big Break The Palm Beaches: Episode 9 Breakdown

By Sara Brown, Kelly JacquesApril 1, 2015, 12:14 pm


Big Break Ireland contestant Kelly Jacques breaks down Episode 8 of Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, along with two-time Big Break contestant and host of School of Golf, Sara Brown. Don’t miss their expert commentary every week after each episode and make sure to tune in Mondays at 9PM ET.

Sara: FINAL FOUR! Richy Robert Clay and Justin! This is sure to be good!!!

Kelly: Yes we are finally down to the final 4! I truly feel like we have the 4 strongest golfers left in this competition! That only means these last few episodes are going to be AWESOME!


Sara: I agree Kel... And it definitely shows on paper for Justin, Richy and Robert with all of their accolades and well let's be serious Clay has GAME!!! This is sure to be a great episode!!! There is that nervousness we as contestants get as the players start to dwindle and that finale gets closer and closer... Oh but let's not forget Justin and Richy were told and breakfast this was the last day to use their mulligan or they would lose it... I can't wait to see what happens!

Kelly: I loved this first immunity challenge! This is the first time I’ve seen this exact challenge and I think it’s a keeper! With 5 total shots, the players had to play 2 holes and see how well they could do. This late in the game, I think it’s important to have true golf challenges incorporated!

Sara: I think you were reading my mind! I LOVE that the immunity challenge was playing GOLF! You only had 5 shots and two holes... A par 3 and a par 4... This was the first time I saw ALL the contestants show they were nervous! No shots were spectacular.

Kelly: Yea Sara I was pretty surprised that no one hit a tight one on that first shot either. But Like you said I'm sure the nerves are playing a big factor as we are getting closer and closer to the finale!

But all the players made a par on the first hole except Clay! He 3 putted from a pretty decent birdie range…WOW…what a mistake…that almost guarantees that he will not win this immunity challenge.  You want to be aggressive AND smart but unfortunately that didn’t happen this time. 

Sara: Yea Clays first putt was pretty firm for the type of challenge it is and what he's playing for! I was shocked to see Richy didn't give it a better look for birdie since he got a read from Robert... But a par was what was needed that first hole and when Clay missed I was SHOCKED!!! He's been putting great! So now Clay has one shot on the par 4 and definitely doesn't have Roberts length off the tee... So he's pretty much out!  

Kelly: I was pretty impressed with the way that Justin played that first immunity challenge! Knowing that he still had a mulligan in his pocket, he put himself in a position to know exactly what he had to do to win at the last location. He used his mulligan and it paid off. Earning himself immunity into the top 3! I like his odds to take it all!

Sara: I liked how everyone played smart off the tee... BUT I was shocked since Robert knew Justin AND Richy Still had mulligans that he didn't take out his driver and play alittle more aggressive... It was to Justin's advantage to hit in that 3rd spot after he saw Robert and Richy... He knew he wanted to hit it past them so he would be last to hit... Putting himself in great position to know exactly what he needed to do to win this challenge!!! Although Richy gave it a great effort from 160 yards Justin only had 75 and that mulligan in his pocket... Which came into good use as he stuck his mulligan ball to 4 feet! Justin is very confident in his game right now and I agree with you Kel, he may be hard to beat, BUT we both know how that Big Break Pressure can just jump up and grab you... Excited to see him play next episode!

Kelly: The short games of the remaining players were put to the test during the second immunity challenge…and they sure did hit some impressive shots! EXCEPT…Richy missed his 3ft comeback TWICE! He used his mulligan and unfortunately it did not pay off. Sara, do you think that was nerves?

Sara: Yes they did!!! That first location out of the bunker everyone hit it inside 4 feet and while Robert and Clay putted it in... Richy MISSED!!! I was literally in shock when I saw that!!! I was yelling at the tv for him to use his MULLIGAN... Seems silly to need it for a 3 foot putt but hey you have, it USE IT!!! Seems easy enough right... NOPE!!! He hits the SAME EXACT PUTT and misses AGAIN!!! WOW!!! He is definitely showing some nerves and feeling the Big Break Pressure... I think this is the first time I've seen him a little frazzled on the course.


Kelly: Clay struggled during this challenge and was the first player to ensure his spot in the elimination challenge. He has not had a good day up until this point and really needs to pull himself together in order to advance to the next show. 

Sara: For Richy to have stuck that second location after his missed putts was impressive a definite bounce back BUT Robert was right there to answer with his clutch putting! Clay is struggling in this challenge and I don't think he can make up any ground in this final location... 

Kelly: Due to Robert’s clutch putt, Richy was the one to join Clay in the elimination challenge.  Before seeing the results, my money would be on Richy. Only because we have seen how Clay crumbles a bit when he is lacking that confidence. 

Sara: That putt Robert made was HUGE but let's give it to Richy too he made a great up and down from that 3rd and final location from in between the palm trees... But ultimately Clay and Richy were in elimination and well not anything against Clay BUT Richy has wanted to play him for a few shows now and with Clay lacking confidence this show my money was on Richy too!

Kelly: Clay bogey’d the first hole due to a few compounded mistakes but if he has a solid hole 2 he can still be in it! Fight Clay! I want to see a good match!

Sara: I don't know Kelly, two holes is not very many when you get behind... And to be honest Clay got pretty lucky with that tee shot that hit the tree and he didn't take advantage... Then what was that putt? He rammed it way past the hole! Again we both have been there and when it starts to spiral out of control there is not much that you can do... Especially when you are playing with someone who is on cruise control! 

Kelly: Unfortunately for Clay, Richy was able to 2 putt the last hole to send him home and put an end to his Big Break. 

Sara: Richy played smart these two elimination holes... It made Clay have to press to make something happen and unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for Clay this time! 

Kelly: There are a lot of people who are not a fan of Clay, but I truly believe he is a great guy. I appreciate his passion and his genuine love for the game. If he learns to let his game do the talking and tighten up his play under pressure, I think he can be pretty darn good. Best of luck with everything Clay…I’ll be pulling for you!!!

Sara: Well Kelly we know what that pressure is like on Big Break and what it can do to you when you are there... Clay may not be liked by everyone BUT I'm with you I like him! He's got some major game just needs to tighten up in some areas and maybe let the clubs do more talking than his mouth! I wish you all the BEST Clay!!! Can't wait to see what's in store for you!!!

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”

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Koepka still has chip on his chiseled shoulder

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 3:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brooks Koepka prepared more for this Open than last year's.

He picked up his clubs three times.

That’s three more than last summer, when the only shots he hit between the summer Opens was during a commercial shoot for Michelob Ultra at TPC Sawgrass. He still tied for sixth at The Open a month later.

This time, Koepka kept his commitment to play the Travelers, then hit balls three times between the final round in Hartford and this past Sunday, when he first arrived here at Carnoustie.

Not that he was concerned, of course.

Koepka’s been playing golf for nearly 20 years. He wasn’t about to forget to how to swing a club after a few weeks off.

“It was pretty much the same thing,” he said Tuesday, during his pre-tournament news conference. “I shared it with one of my best friends, my family, and it was pretty much the same routine. It was fun. We enjoyed it. But I’m excited to get back inside the ropes and start playing again. I think you need to enjoy it any time you win and really embrace it and think about what you’ve done.”

At Shinnecock Hills, Koepka became the first player in nearly 30 years to repeat as U.S. Open champion – a major title that helped him shed his undeserved reputation as just another 20-something talent who relies solely on his awesome power. In fact, he takes immense pride in his improved short game and putting inside 8 feet.

“I can take advantage of long golf courses,” he said, “but I enjoy plotting my way around probably - more than the bombers’ golf courses - where you’ve got to think, be cautious sometimes, and fire at the center of the greens. You’ve got to be very disciplined, and that’s the kind of golf I enjoy.”

Which is why Koepka once again fancies his chances here on the type of links that helped launch his career.

Koepka was out of options domestically after he failed to reach the final stage of Q-School in 2012. So he packed his bags and headed overseas, going on a tear on the European Challenge Tour (Europe’s equivalent of the circuit) and earning four titles, including one here in Scotland. That experience was the most fun and beneficial part of his career, when he learned to win, be self-sufficient and play in different conditions.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“There’s certain steps, and I embraced it,” Koepka said. “I think that’s where a lot of guys go wrong. You are where you are, and you have to make the best of it instead of just putting your head down and being like, 'Well, I should be on the PGA Tour.' Well, guess what? You’re not. So you’ve got to suck it up wherever you are, make the best of it, and keep plugging away and trying to win everything you can because, eventually, if you’re good enough, you will get out here.”

Koepka has proved that he’s plenty good enough, of course: He’s a combined 20 under in the majors since the beginning of 2017, the best of any player during that span. But he still searches long and hard for a chip to put on his chiseled shoulder.

In his presser after winning at Shinnecock, Koepka said that he sometimes feels disrespected and forgotten, at least compared to his more-ballyhooed peers. It didn’t necessarily bother him – he prefers to stay out of the spotlight anyway, eschewing a media tour after each of his Open titles – but it clearly tweaked him enough for him to admit it publicly.

That feeling didn’t subside after he went back to back at the Open, either. On U.S. Open Sunday, ESPN’s Instagram page didn’t showcase a victorious Koepka, but rather a video of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dunking a basketball.

“He’s like 6-foot-2. He’s got hops – we all know that – and he’s got hands. So what’s impressive about that?” Koepka said. “But I always try to find something where I feel like I’m the underdog and put that little chip on my shoulder. Even if you’re No. 1, you’ve got to find a way to keep going and keep that little chip on.

“I think I’ve done a good job of that. I need to continue doing that, because once you’re satisfied, you’re only going to go downhill. You try to find something to get better and better, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Now 28, Koepka has a goal of how many majors he’d like to win before his career is over, but he wasn’t about to share it.

Still, he was adamant about one thing: “Right now I’m focused on winning. That’s the only thing I’ve got in my mind. Second place just isn’t good enough. I finished second a lot, and I’m just tired of it. Once you win, it kind of propels you. You have this mindset where you just want to keep winning. It breeds confidence, but you want to have that feeling of gratification: I finally did this. How cool is this?”

So cool that Koepka can’t wait to win another one.

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Despite results, Thomas loves links golf

By Jay CoffinJuly 17, 2018, 2:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Despite poor results in two previous Open Championships, Justin Thomas contends that he has what it takes to be a good links player. In fact, he believes that he is a good links player.

Two years ago at Royal Troon, Thomas shot 77 in the second round to tie for 53rd place. He was on the wrong side of the draw that week that essentially eliminated anyone from contention who played late Friday afternoon.

Last year at Royal Birkdale, Thomas made a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 sixth hole in the second round and missed the cut by two shots.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I feel like I’ve played more than two Opens, but I haven’t had any success here,” Thomas said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I feel like I am a good links player, although I don’t really have the results to show.”

Although he didn’t mention it as a reason for success this week, Thomas is a much different player now than he was two years ago, having ascended to the No. 1 position in the world for a few weeks and now resting comfortably in the second spot.

He also believes a high golf IQ, and the ability to shape different shots into and with the wind are something that will help him in The Open over the next 20 years.

“I truly enjoy the creativity,” Thomas said. “It presents a lot of different strategies, how you want to play it, if you want to be aggressive, if you want to be conservative, if you want to attack some holes, wait on certain winds, whatever it might be. It definitely causes you to think.

“With it being as firm as it is, it definitely adds a whole other variable to it.”

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Reed's major record now a highlight, not hindrance

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 2:46 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The narrative surrounding Patrick Reed used to be that he could play well in the Ryder Cup but not the majors.

So much for that.

Reed didn’t record a top-10 in his first 15 starts in a major, but he took the next step in his career by tying for second at the 2017 PGA Championship. He followed that up with a breakthrough victory at the Masters, then finished fourth at the U.S. Open after a closing 68.

He’s the only player with three consecutive top-4s in the majors.

What’s the difference now?

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“The biggest thing is I treat them like they’re normal events,” he said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I’ve always gone into majors and put too much pressure on myself, having to go play well, having to do this or that. Now I go in there and try to play golf and keep in the mindset of, Hey, it’s just another day on the golf course. Let’s just go play.

“I’ve been able to stay in that mindset the past three, and I’ve played pretty well in all three of them.”

Reed’s record in the year’s third major has been hit or miss – a pair of top-20s and two missed cuts – but he says he’s a better links player now than when he began his career. It took the native Texan a while to embrace the creativity required here and also to comprehend the absurd distances he can hit the ball with the proper wind, conditions and bounce.

“I’m sort of accepting it,” he said. “I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with doing it. It’s come a little bit easier, especially down the stretch in tournament play.”