Big Break's Annie & Kelly Provide Insight on Show 3

By Big BreakMarch 13, 2014, 1:45 pm

Former Big Break Ireland competitors Annie Brophy and Kelly Jacques are back.  Only this time, it is not to play on Big Break, but to lend their insight and provide some fun facts about the ladies of Big Break Florida.  Each week, Annie and Kelly will give you their thoughts on that week’s show, including what the pressure is like each week, since they have been there before.  They also will provide you with some behind-the-scenes info on the ladies – Annie and Kelly have played alongside most of them on the Symetra Tour the past few years.  While they have no knowledge of any results on the series, they will offer up thoughts on their favorites – and some non-favorites – on Big Break Florida.  When not providing their Big Break commentary, Annie and Kelly currently work for GolfNow.com, Golf Channel’s official online tee-times provider.

Kelly: Last week did not disappoint, and neither did this week!

Annie: You’re right. First week we’ve seen tears. The flood gates are open!

Kelly: I’m loving the theme of the immunity challenges so far – strategy, strategy, strategy! I thought it was great that the girls had no idea who chose what shot to hit in the first challenge.
I figured only Mary and Sadena would choose the long drive. Sadena is one of the longest on Tour so I’m not surprised she won. Into the wind, no roll, at sea level and gripped down to hit a 276 yard drive...that is seriously impressive. Beast mode! Watch out girls!
Annie: She kills the ball, it’s not even funny. I think I said the same thing last week. 275 is definitely not as far as she can hit it either. I hope some of the guys out there watching this season have a new found respect for women’s golf! These girls are good!

Kelly: I am very surprised however that Jackie chose long drive! She is sneaky long and extremely accurate, but come on girl! You holed out that 95 yard shot in episode 1, play to your strengths! In her defense, when you are on Big Break, you hardly get any sleep which can definitely affect your decision making abilities. Many nights the interviews run into the early morning hours and then you have to turn around and get up at 4-5 am. So Jackie, I’ll give you a free pass on the premise of no sleep :).

Annie: Jackie is one of the longer girls on Tour – I appreciate that she went to the long drive challenge. Perhaps pretty silly in hindsight given Sadena’s length. Very few girls could stand a chance against Sadena and her driver. I’m glad it didn’t end up hurting Jackie in the long run. She was sitting at the bottom of the leaderboard for a while – had me sweating!

Kelly: Fiamma, congrats on winning the easiest immunity challenge ever! But I totally get why you were still nervous, sometimes it’s harder to execute a shot when you only have to hit a green, or just two-putt...so good job!

Annie: Pretty easy way to make it onto the next show. I love that in her interview she said she wished she had competed against someone. Really? Was easy immunity so miserable? I did notice she didn’t take the money to keep competing.
How about our girl, Renee, with her great bunker shot?! THAT’S the Renee we’ve been waiting for. I wasn’t surprised that she passed up on the money. She hasn’t seemed very comfortable with her game so far on the show. Hopefully that changes soon!

Kelly: Yeah Renee! It was great to see one of my best friends show her true colors with her rock star short game. Hitting a greenside bunker shot to 2’3’’ is clutch! She is known to chip in A LOT on Tour and has one of the best short games I’ve ever seen. If she can just gain some more confidence in her abilities she’ll be a tough competitor.

Kelly: I’m going to skip over to fashion for a sec... How many LuLu[lemon] skirts do these girls have??!! I mean, I know they are adorable and comfortable and flattering and fashionable and cute and ...okay...maybe LuLu should just sponsor Big Break next season, I don’t think anyone would oppose!

Annie: It’s a little obnoxious, but I live in Lulu, so I can’t really talk. It’s tough to find cute, feminine, comfortable golf clothes, and Lulu skirts are perfect. Good thing the Tour doesn’t have any rules about length of skirts. Lululemon: helping to promote women’s golf one short skirt at a time.

Kelly: On to the second immunity challenge, once again a strategy challenge. It’s interesting to see how these girls think under pressure. I’m so confused by Mary in the final location. I’ve never seen her back down and play for second so I was very shocked to see her play not to lose. She better get that out of her system if she wants to win this!
Annie: I disagree. I think this was really the first time we saw Mary with a game plan and not make ego-driven decisions which could get her into trouble. Big Break is interesting because hero shots don’t help you win on the third show. But bad shots and lack of strategy CAN send you home. So Mary – good work!

Kelly: I’m not sure how everyone else views Lauren after this week’s episode, but I definitely see her as a weak link. Solely because of her willingness to let everyone see her get upset and make a scene. I get it...golf is emotional and golf is tough, but in a competition like this, that is rule #1 to survive. DO NOT SHOW YOUR WEAKNESSES!! If she wants to do well not only in this competition, but also as a professional golfer, she needs to get her emotions in check. Even if you have to feed yourself fake confidence, do it! Act with confidence, think with confidence, and speak with confidence. By doing this you will eventually convince yourself that you got this!

Annie: One of my first golf coaches used to tell me “Fake it ‘til you make it” when it comes to confidence. I will say I was impressed by her performance in the elimination challenge – I thought she really stepped up. And I also thought she had on a great outfit – I did comment on that out loud as I was watching. But I was less than impressed with the crying. I was so confused about why she was crying. Did I miss something? Was she sick? Had she been eliminated? Maybe her dog died? Nope. She’s just “not playing good.” Oh. Okay.

Kelly: After Lauren’s breakdown, I think Dallas made a good decision picking her for the elimination challenge. You can tell Dallas is a young player, sometimes that fearless attitude can pay off, but in this situation it definitely backfired. To go for the green when you can’t get there and the green is guarded by bunkers and water=not smart. However, I am impressed at her recovery shot that found the green, but I have a feeling she might hit recovery shots quite often.

Annie: Ahhh – Miss Personality. I agree. Given the circumstances, I think she made the right decision picking Lauren. I think her choice to go for the green in two and the subsequent pull-hook showed Dallas’ lack of experience. Dallas made a couple comments I probably made to my college coach my freshman year. I was a more aggressive player and loved big risk – big reward shots. But that’s a pretty stupid way to manage a golf course. She’s young and doesn’t seem to know much about competitive golf period – didn’t even know the girls out on Tour traveled for months at a time in season.

Kelly: All in all I am not surprised that Dallas is the one to head home. She has the least amount of experience of all the girls and that really showed. I’m glad to see that she is being honest with herself about possibly not wanting to play professionally. There are so many talented girls trying to make it, that if your heart is not 100% in it, I think it’s a waste of time. Find something that you love Dallas and pursue it with everything you have, if that’s not golf, that’s okay :) You have a great head on your shoulders and I’m proud of you for keeping it all in perspective...golf is just a game.

Annie: Ha, Kelly I love how positive you are to wrap these blogs up. I can definitely relate to her realization at the end of the show, but I think it’s too bad that by being cast she took the spot of another girl who is committed 100% to playing competitive golf. I know a lot of girls who would love to be on Big Break, and it seems like Dallas really didn’t know what she was getting herself into by turning pro for this show. That being said – it’s tough to make the realization that professional golf isn’t for you on national TV – so good for her for having the guts to say it.

That’s all for this show! Looking forward to next week already.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”

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Woods does everything but win at The Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 22, 2018, 8:57 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a proud man who spent the majority of his prime scoffing at silver linings and small victories, Tiger Woods needed little cajoling to look at the bright side Sunday at Carnoustie.

Sure, after a round in which he took the solo lead at The Open with nine holes to go, the first words out of Woods’ mouth were that he was “a little ticked off at myself” for squandering an opportunity to capture his 15th major title, and his first in more than a decade. And that immediate reaction was justified: In the stiffest winds of the week, he played his last eight holes in 2 over, missed low on a 6-footer on the final green and wound up in a tie for sixth, three shots behind his playing partner, Francesco Molinari.

“Today was a day,” Woods said, “that I had a great opportunity.”

But here’s where we take a deep breath.

Tiger Woods led the freakin’ Open Championship with nine holes to play.

Imagine typing those words three months ago. Six months ago. Nine months ago. Twelve months ago.

The scenario was improbable.

Inconceivable.

Impossible.

At this time last year, Woods was only a few months removed from a Hail Mary fusion surgery; from a humiliating DUI arrest in which he was found slumped behind the wheel of his car, with five drugs in his system; from a month-long stay in a rehab clinic to manage his sleep medications.

Just last fall, he’d admitted that he didn’t know what the future held. Playing a major, let alone contending in one, seemed like a reasonable goal.

This year he’s showed signs of softening, of being kinder and gentler. He appeared more eager to engage with his peers. More appreciative of battling the game’s young stars inside the ropes. More likely to express his vulnerabilities. Now 42, he finally seemed at peace with accepting his role as an elder statesman.

One major, any major, would be the most meaningful title of his career, and he suggested this week that his best chance would come in an Open, where oldies-but-goodies Tom Watson (age 59) and Greg Norman (53) have nearly stolen the claret jug over the past decade.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


But success at this Open, on the toughest links in the rota?

“Just need to play some cleaner golf, and who knows?” he shrugged.

Many analysts howled at Woods’ ultra-conservative strategy across the early rounds here at big, brawny and brutish Carnoustie. He led the field in driving accuracy but routinely left himself 200-plus yards for his approach shots, relying heavily on some vintage iron play. Even par through 36 holes, he stepped on the gas Saturday, during the most benign day for scoring, carding a 66 to get within striking distance of the leaders.

Donning his traditional blood-red shirt Sunday, Woods needed only six holes to erase his five-shot deficit. Hearing the roars, watching WOODS rise on the yellow leaderboards, it was as though we’d been transported to the mid-2000s, to a time when he’d play solidly, not spectacularly, and watch as his lesser opponents crumbled. On the same ancient links that Ben Hogan took his lone Open title, in 1953, four years after having his legs crushed in a head-on crash with a Greyhound bus, Woods seemed on the verge of scripting his own incredible comeback.

Because Jordan Spieth was tumbling down the board, the beginning of a birdie-less 76.

Rory McIlroy was bogeying two of his first five holes.

Xander Schauffele was hacking his way through fescue.

Once Woods hit one of the shots of the championship on 10 – hoisting a 151-yard pitching wedge out of a fairway bunker, over a steep lip, over a burn, to 20 feet – the outcome seemed preordained.

“For a while,” McIlroy conceded, “I thought Tiger was going to win.”

So did Woods. “It didn’t feel any different to be next to the lead and knowing what I needed to do,” he said. “I’ve done it so many different ways. It didn’t feel any different.”

But perhaps it’s no coincidence that once Woods took the lead for the first time, he frittered it away almost immediately. That’s what happened Saturday, when he shared the lead on the back nine and promptly made bogey. On Sunday, he drove into thick fescue on 11, then rocketed his second shot into the crowd, the ball ricocheting off a fan’s shoulder, and then another’s iPhone, and settling in more hay. He was too cute with his flop shot, leaving it short of the green, and then missed an 8-footer for bogey. He followed it up on 12 with another misadventure in the rough, leading to a momentum-killing bogey. He’d never again pull closer than two shots.

“It will be interesting to see going forward, because this was his first taste of major championship drama for quite a while,” McIlroy said. “Even though he’s won 14, you have to learn how to get back.”

Over the daunting closing stretch, Woods watched helplessly as Molinari, as reliable as the tide coming in off the North Sea, plodded his way to victory. With Woods’ hopes for a playoff already slim, Molinari feathered a wedge to 5 feet on the closing hole. Woods marched grim-faced to the bridge, never turning around to acknowledge his playing partner’s finishing blow. He waved his black cap and raised his mallet-style putter to a roaring crowd – knowledgeable fans who were appreciative not just of Woods making his first Open start since 2015, but actually coming close to winning the damn thing.

“Oh, it was a blast,” Woods would say afterward. “I need to try to keep it in perspective, because at the beginning of the year, if they’d have said you’re playing The Open Championship, I would have said I’d be very lucky to do that.”

Last weekend, Woods sat in a box at Wimbledon to watch Serena Williams contend for a 24th major title. Williams is one of the few athletes on the planet with whom Woods can relate – an aging, larger-than-life superstar who is fiercely competitive and adept at overcoming adversity. Woods is 15 months removed from a fourth back surgery on an already brittle body; Williams nearly secured the most prestigious championship in tennis less than a year after suffering serious complications during childbirth.

“She’ll probably call me and talk to me about it because you’ve got to put things in perspective,” Woods said. “I know that it’s going to sting for a little bit here, but given where I was to where I’m at now, I’m blessed.”

But Woods didn’t need to wait for that phone call to find some solace. Waiting for him afterward were his two kids, Sam, 11, and Charlie, 9, both of whom were either too young or not yet born when Tiger last won a major in 2008, when he was at the peak of his powers.

Choking up, Woods said, “I told them I tried, and I said, 'Hopefully you’re proud of your Pops for trying as hard as I did.' It’s pretty emotional, because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me, and how much it feels good to be back playing again.

“To me, it’s just so special to have them aware, because I’ve won a lot of golf tournaments in my career, but they don’t remember any of them. The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. It’s such a great feeling.”

His media obligations done, Woods climbed up the elevated walkway, on his way to the back entrance of the Carnoustie Golf Hotel & Spa. He was surrounded by his usual entourage, but also two new, younger additions to his clan.

Sam adhered to the strict Sunday dress code, wearing a black tank top and red shorts. But Charlie’s attire may have been even more appropriate. On the day his dad nearly authored the greatest sports story ever, he chose a red Nike T-shirt with a bold message emblazoned on the front, in big, block letters:

LOVE THE HATERS.

After this unbelievable performance, after Tiger Woods nearly won The Open, are there really any left?