“Golf is a game of inches.”
It’s almost a tired old golf cliché ¬− or at least it would be if it weren’t so damn true. Think about it for more than six seconds and you can probably come up with your own examples of this time-tested adage at work for—but mostly against—you.
And just in case you had trouble coming up with your own cases of inches making all the difference in the golf world, recent Big Break history provides some pretty clear “inch”-stances.
There was episode 5 of Big Break Dominican Republic, when teams were charged with the task of hitting increasing length tee shots. Hit it farther than your team’s previous effort, in the fairway, and you get to keep going. With 104 yards on the board and hitting her team’s 5th shot, Lori Atesedes bested her teammate’s distance by a whopping 3 inches to continue their run. Epically, their increasing length clinic would go another 7 shots before the “Glossy Posse” finally ran out of fairway.
In episode 3 of Big Break Atlantis, Zakiya Randall was all set to enjoy not only immunity, but an afternoon at the Aquaventure Waterpark when suddenly her plans were ruined by Aubrey McCormick. Aubrey’s bunker shot snuck inside Zakiya’s mark by just 2 inches, setting off a chain of events that saw “Z” getting more exercise than she wished for (i.e. taking the walk).
And so it was with Brian in this week’s episode of Big Break Greenbrier. Through no fault of his own, Brian advanced to the winners match in the second Immunity Challenge, in which the player nearest the hole and in the fairway got to decide who would play to the green. Hit the green, and you win; miss the green, and your opponent gets the W.
The key part in this match was that in the fairway bit.
Brian teed off first against Mark, and his drive splashed through the bunker, coming to rest in the rough a mere 6 inches short of reaching the fairway. Mark promptly stepped up to the tee and yanked his somewhere left of Bill Maher.
Had Brian’s ball made it to the short grass, he would not only have been in the driver’s seat, but he would have taken the car all the way back to the Summit Village, where he’d be resting up for another day of golf. But in his own words (which we couldn’t show you at the time because it would have revealed too much) it “later turned out to be [that] much between the end of everything”.
If Brian’s in the fairway, one of two things happens. Either he hits short iron into a welcoming green or he makes Mark play Harry Houdini for a day and take his chances with a jailbreak shot from a spot Google maps still doesn’t know about.
Instead, they re-teed, and Mark took control of the match—not to mention the destiny of both players.
For what it’s worth, Brian should not look back and lament the 6 inches that cost him his Big Break life. Ultimately it was the dozens of collective yards that he was off line with his driver throughout the course of the series. His mid-to-short range game was never in question, as indicated by Isaac when he felt threatened enough to knock Brian out of the B-R-E-A-K challenge.
But Big Break is still a game of inches, and in this case, the inches added up to miles − sent back home, miles away from America’s resort. And what must have felt like miles away from the ultimate goal.
Of course, Brian’s journey has already spanned many miles − not that you would know it to look at him. The fire that he occasionally displays on the course is the same one that fuels his desire to be the best at whatever it is he does, even in defiance of age.
Coop is like a Montreal bagel, rough and hard on the outside, but on the inside he’s just a big softy. This is a guy whose bottom lip starts to quiver at the thought of someday being a father. Away from the course, you’ll struggle to find a more gentlemanly individual.
But inside the ropes, he refuses to budge. Even an inch.
Some additional notes:
• James hit no fewer than 4 shots with his eyes closed in this episode. In case you hadn’t noticed, James is an extremely cerebral player. He says closing his eyes during the swing keeps him from trying to make adjustments on the way down.
• Rick’s strategy to re-play the third location in the B-R-E-A-K challenge seemed like a good idea at the time. But it backfired, as he ant Isaac indicated (in hindsight), by giving great players a second chance at the same shot.
• Mark is your average superstitious golfer. While preparing to play the second Immunity Challenge, Mark asked for a blue Sharpie that he could use to mark his ball. Several members of the production crew had Sharpies, but none were blue. At the last minute, Production Assistant Will Walker raced to the tee with a blue Sharpie that he had obtained back at the production office, and the rest is history.
• The Drive/Who Will Approach format in the second Immunity Challenge is basically an offshoot of the Pitch/Who Will Putt challenge, as seen in episode 4 and on other seasons of Big Break. Other variations have also been used.
• As the belt buckle would indicate, Brian is a die-hard Steelers fan. And while he left home without his, the friendly and capable Greenbrier staff was able to provide him with a Terrible Towel. That’s the one Brian waves during his final walk.
• In addition to the shooting adventures at the Gun Club, The Greenbrier offers a host of unique guest experiences for thrill seekers, including: falconry, mountain biking, an Alpine climbing tower, kayaking/white water rafting, paint ball and off-road driving.
Inches Makes Miles
“Golf is a game of inches.”
Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake
Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.
Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.
Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.
Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.
Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.
Woods finished his round with a vintage eagle on the par-5 18th hole, finding the green with a 5-wood from 256 yards out and then sinking the 28-foot putt.
Co-leader. pic.twitter.com/MMUZ8zptQ9— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 20, 2018
The eagle at the last gave Woods a share of the early first-round lead with Rickie Fowler at 5-under 65.
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.
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Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?
Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.
It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.
A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.
Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.
Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews
The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.
According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:
TAKE CARE – ST ANDREWS OLD COURSE AREA— Fife Police (@FifePolice) September 19, 2018
Police in Fife are asking the public to take care around St Andrews Old Course after reports of tents from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships site being blown about. #stormy #stormAli #staysafe
While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.