Dance The Night Away

By Brendan Havens, Big Break ProducerAugust 23, 2010, 10:51 pm

It’s amazing how so many moments can happen during the course of Big Break that shape the competition, the outcomes and the storylines, and in just one instant, a single shot can determine the final outcome. On the 17th green, with the championship match reaching its climax, Carling Coffing took that single shot which will now live in Big Break infamy; hopping, skipping and jumping her way to the win in the grand finale of Big Break Sandals Resorts. Sure, there was still one hole to play and, courtesy of that tiny, little palm tree, Lili suffered probably one of the worst breaks I’ve ever witnessed on a golf course. The fact of the matter is though, the dagger was effectively plunged into Lili’s gut on that 17th green. The break on 18 was just a twisting of the blade. 

Before we get into Carling’s win, I must say a few words about this season’s runner-up, Lili Alvarez. Even after such a heart wrenching defeat, Lili showed us how to carry oneself as a competitor and a true sportsman. She didn’t get angry; she didn’t play the “woe is me” card about the bad break; she didn’t blame anyone else for her loss. She just took it for what it is—a game and an experience. That, in itself, just shows how classy a competitor and how wonderful an ambassador to the game she is. 

I digress…

As shocking as it was to see Carling drain that 25-foot putt, I’m not sure I would classify it as a straight up surprise, though—especially not for our good buddy, Stephanie Sparks. One thing you didn’t see in the finale was that as Lili and Carling were making their way up to the 17th green, Sparky turns to Tom and says, “How much you want to bet she makes that putt?” Only minutes later, Carling sinks one of the biggest pressure putts in the history of Big Break. Up until that point, one of the most absolute clutch putts in the series’ 13 seasons came from none other than Miss Carling Coffing on the 12th green at the expense of poor little Sara Brown. So, coupling that with her lights-out putting performance for the bulk of the match, Sparky’s prediction wasn’t all that far-fetched.

So, where will Carling rank in the annals of Big Break Champions? Will she go the route of a Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, or will she go the way of a Danielle Aimee? Only time will tell, and I certainly couldn’t make a solid prediction at this moment, but I will say one thing: Carling Coffing possesses one of the best short games I’ve seen during any season of the Big Break. Ever. As those who play the game for a living or those who obsessively search for that next weekend tee time will attest, a good short game is the key to shooting low scores. Hate to say it, but the old adage still seems to ring true to this day. You drive for show and putt for dough. Truth be told, Carling must now own her own bakery.

(*Producer’s note: I’d like to apologize for that awful joke. Just couldn’t help myself.)

So, was Carling the best player in the competition? As with many seasons, this seems to be a recurring question. Some would say that Ryann was far and away the best player. Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t necessarily disagree with that statement. Ryann hit the ball further than anyone, she possesses a short game that can certainly keep pace with Carling, and she’s gone on to win two Duramed FUTURES Tour events since the filming of the series—not too shabby a resume. However, one thing that continually gets overlooked during this competition is how one reacts when dealt with some form of adversity. This type of adversity is just a little different than a normal round of tournament golf. Ryann, at least during the Big Break competition, did not deal with adversity particularly well (her infuriated reaction to Seema’s Save/Send-lucky-seat as a prime example). Carling, on the absolute other end of the spectrum, let just about every bit of adversity she faced just roll right off her back. Whether it be her “altercation” with Sara on the bench or her battle with diabetes-related blood sugar problems during the third week of the season, Carling exhibited a type of toughness that no one else possessed during this competition.

That’s what it all comes down to for Carling. She’s tough. She’s really tough. To deal with a serious illness day in and day out, that takes a type of toughness that only few can acquire. To roll in a 25-foot birdie putt with the championship match on the line…I guess that takes some serious toughness too.

Congratulations Carling. Say it out loud. You’re the Big Break Champion.

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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.”