The Best View in the House

By Big Break ProducerOctober 23, 2013, 2:00 am

You might be surprised when I tell you that in the world of reality shows, Big Break has a very large crew. It takes a little over 100 men and women to put all the puzzle pieces together that provides you with what you see on the television screen each week. We move around the golf course like a well trained army of ants, all carefully choreographed to single file cart path driving (73 carts on a hole at a time). And all but maybe 5 people have firmly attached to their hip a walkie talkie that has a tethered earpiece connecting us all to the ever progressing stream of consciousness that is Big Break.

Of course during the course of the day there is all kinds of radio chatter. Anything from the food/beverage cart needs ice, to “uh... one of our contestants has appendicitis” (actually happened) can be heard over the radio waves inside our production cocoon. During the challenges however, the majority of the crew is tuned into good old channel 3. Of which, I have the distinguished pleasure of being the voice of description. Before and after every shot I describe what is happening in as much detail as I can. This is mainly so our dutiful scribes can furiously scribble down the notes of every shot, comment, yardage, and any other pertinent information that will be used for that day’s interviews. But it is also because we simply can’t fit our entire crew on the course at each of the challenge locations, yet, they still want to know what happens. So they can tune in and I deliver a blow by blow of what happens during each show.

Without fail, there are special times each season, where something will happen that will cause an audible gasp or general sigh of awe from the crew. These are the moments when I find my words get involuntarily louder and excited. I distinctly remember describing Brian’s shot after Emily had hit her shot onto the green in this week’s Sudden Death Challenge and it went a little something like this:

Me: Ok, Emily is on the green, she has about 20 feet and now Brian is pretty much screwed over there in the hazard. He’s got 111 yards to the pin, 96 yards to the front, and I would be shocked if he gets this on the green. He has a tree limb hanging in front of him that he will have to keep it under and IF he is able to do that he will have to avoid the downslope in the fairway if he is going to keep it anywhere short of the back of the green.

Another Producer: What was that yardage again?

Me: 111 yards.

Another Producer: Copy that.

Me: Ok, Brian is getting set behind the ball and he is checking out what kind of swing space he has. He should have a pretty free and clear swing here.

Safe City Producer: Shannon and Doleman are looking pretty anxious over here. And Isaac just told Jerry about the time Brian saved himself from the long grass at Greenbrier.

Me: Ok, Brian is getting settled over the ball, oh nope, he has backed off. Having a hard time getting his nerves settled. Emily is standing by her cart looking pretty relaxed. She told me in the fairway that she wanted to beat him so bad. Ok, over the ball.... and ball is in the air..... this is gonna fly too far... wow perfect actually... this could... holy crap that thing is gonna be just perfect! (I hear gasps and “oh wows” from other crew in my general vicinity)

Me: (louder and more excited now)Incredible shot by Brian Cooper and Emily can’t believe it. Look at that! It’s right beside the hole!

Safe City Producer: Nice reactions up here from everyone. How close is that?

Me: 4, maybe 5 feet tops. Which is crazy considering where he was. I am going to guess he will call that the best shot he has ever hit. (He didn’t. He still thinks his shot at Greenbrier from the rough was better. I disagree.)

At this point Brian walks out of the hazard he was in and gives me a wry smile and wink, which is a rare break of his usually focused demeanor when he is in competition.
In the end, Team Doleman remains Lossless and I have no doubt Coop will tuck that moment away in his mental bank of truly great shots and he was not finished yet. He gave us a few other reasons to gasp this season. But you will have to wait for that...

Till next time,

Chris Graham

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'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”