Big Break Ireland Producer Blog: The Art of Planning a Challenge

By October 26, 2011, 2:00 am


The planning of just one episode of Big Break takes many many hours and is done many many days in advance. Part of my job is to go out early and scout every challenge that is competed on the show. During this scout we pick locations, decide where the cameras will go, and most importantly test everything to make sure that when we arrive there on the day of the challenge everything works smoothly.

The day we went to scout Portmarnock, everything was perfect. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and even rainbows looks particularly bright. It was one of those days when you just stand on one of the many fescue ridden dunes as you overlook the vast expanse better known as the Irish Sea and think about how insignificant you are.  

So, after some hemming and haww-ing we were all set. The sixth episode was all planned out and we couldn’t wait to take advantage of the amazing views Portmarnock had to offer.

Flash forward to the shoot day....

Upon arriving at the golf course at 5:30am, I was greeted with my hat being blown clear off my head and it was abundantly clear that our meticulously crafted plan was....... well...... not going to work. Sustained winds of 40 mph (blowing in the exact opposite direction as when we scouted) were going to make our already difficult challenge locations impossible. So we scrambled. And the result, if I daresay myself was quite good. We had much more long game challenges planned for the day, but decided to move everything in to inside 120 yards because the holes we were playing on had particularly difficult greens. For example, the shot Andy hit to 25ft from the sixth location behind the bush from 117, was for lack of a better term, “holy craptastic” (I’m trademarking that so don’t even think about it.). It’s hard to tell on TV but he started that ball 40 yards left of the pin and it ended up 10 yards right of the pin. The fact that he then made the putt, was just icing on the cake.


For the record, I have personally watched and re-watched the footage we have when Julien addressed his ball and claims it moved. From what I can tell, he definitely made contact with the ball, however, it appears to have nudged forward ever so slightly and then returned to it original position. Under the rules of golf, this is not a penalty. However, one of the uniquely great things about golf is, it is entirely up to the golfer to decide what did or did not happen. Julien felt the ball moved and therefore assessed himself the penalty because ultimately he didn’t know if it came back to its original position. He only knew he touched it and didn’t want to take any chances. I for one respect that.

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."