Ladies Try to Get Over the Wall

By March 9, 2005, 5:00 pm
The Big Break IIIEditors note: The Golf Channels Big Break III ' Ladies Only is the third installment of this hit series. As the title suggests, however, this season is just for the ladies. The 10 contestants are vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
 
After the group had been cut down to seven, the ladies retreated to their condo to let off a little steam, enjoy a good, ol fashioned barbeque and get mentally ready for what twist might be thrown at them next.
 
Big Break III
The infamous Big Break wall had the ladies trying to take their games to new heights.
We had hotdogs flying through the air and hamburgers being flipped four feet into the air. Im surprised we actually salvaged enough to eat, recalled Danielle Amiee, on the previous evenings buffoonery, before reconvening the next morning for the Mulligan Challenge.
 
In what co-host Vince Cellini described as taking their game to new heights, the Mulligan Challenge had the women attempt flop shots over an imposing 10-foot high wall that had been erected just a few paces from a green. The top-5 players who hit their shots closest to the pin would move into the semi-finals, followed by the top 3 into the finals where a winner would be decided.
 
You couldnt see anything on the other side, so youre kinda trying to measure where the pin is going to be. I mean, you looked up and all you could see was wall, said Sarah Sasse, who got off to a rough start by blading her shot halfway up into the wall.
 
After two rounds of attempts, the three left standing were last weeks sudden-death Elimination Challenge winner Jan Dowling, along with Cindy Miller and Pam Crikelair.
 
At this point the wall had been raised several feet and the line had been moved closer to the wall.
 
When they added the second wall it got a little more intimidating. I just opened up my blade a little bit more, opened up my stance a little bit more and just got really aggressive with it, said Dowling, whose final attempt landed within two feet of the cup - good enough to win the mulligan.
 
With the short game test out of the way, it was time for the ladies to bring out the big sticks as the Skills Challenge was going to test the long ball.
 
A grid was painted down the fairway from the tee box and points were to be awarded on the distance each player could achieve. Bonus points were then given to those who could land their ball in the narrow middle zone for accuracy. Each player was to hit three successive tee shots, followed by a tallying of the scores, and then one final shot.
 
I put myself in that first tee position, Youre in a playoff for the U.S. Womens Open, this is critical. Put your drive in the fairway, said Liz Uthoff, who stepped it up with three long blasts down the pipe for a total of 13 points and put herself in good position for winning immunity from the Elimination Challenge.
 
Closest to Uthoff after the initial three attempts were Crikelair and Dowling, both of whom needed a big final bomb if they wanted to challenge for the immunity. Both, however, came up short and Uthoff was guaranteed to see another day.
 
After having so many stressful challenges, this was like, OK you get a day off, just relax, said a relieved Uthoff.
 
Big Break III
After hitting into a pond, Sarah Sasse was forced to take a costly drop.
It was now time for the Elimination Challenge where course management was to be key as well as trying to control the emotions of the situation.
 
Each player was asked to finish out a hole from two predetermined spots. One, from 190 yards away from the pin in the right fairway rough, with a pond guarding the green in front. The second from 50 yards off the green with several trees obstructing the flagstick. The contestant with the highest combined score from both positions would be eliminated.
 
Cindy Miller started things off and took dead aim at the green with a fairway wood, only to watch in agony as her approach was well short and heading into the drink. Then, much to her delight, the golf gods intervened and gave her a mini-Big Break as her ball skipped out of the water and safely onto dry land, just short of the green.
 
Luck helps. Every golfer gets some good luck, said Sasse about Millers fortunate turn.
 
Sasse herself, however, was not so lucky. Her approach also came out short and fell into the pond, which cost her a disastrous penalty stroke.
 
Her third shot found the greenside bunker and her subsequent effort barely made it out of the hazard. The resulting 7 left her a full three shots back of the nearest competitor as they headed to the second part if the challenge.
 
Only an opponent's complete collapse would keep Sasse in the ballgame.
 
I dont wish poorly on anyone, said Sasse positively of her dire situation. I dont hope somebody hits a bad shot so that Ill have another opportunity.
 
As it turned out, it indeed wasnt in the cards as her total of 10 strokes left her on the outside looking in and she was sent off the show, leaving just six.
 
Shes really, really hard on herself, remarked Miller about Sasses emotions on leaving the show. And I want to say, Sarah, you cant do that honey.
 
I know Im hard on myself and I think that its something that held me back in this competition, said the departing Sasse. Its disappointing but I dont deserve to go any further.
 
Be sure to tune in Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET when a conflict arises that causes friction amongst the ladies before the fifth contestant is ousted from the show.
 
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    First-tee grandstand 'biggest you'll ever see'

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 8:27 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The first-tee nerves could be even more intense this week at the Ryder Cup.

    If only because of the atmosphere.

    The grandstand surrounding the first hole at Le Golf National is unlike anything that’s ever been seen at this event – a 6,500-seat behemoth that dwarfs the previous arenas.

    “It’s the biggest grandstand you’ll ever see at a golf tournament,” Tommy Fleetwood said.

    “It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had to hit that tee shot before,” Ian Poulter said. “When I think back (to my first Ryder Cup) in 2004, the stand is nothing like what we have today. So it really is going to be quite a special moment Friday, and it’s going to be very interesting to see.”

    Poulter said it’ll be his job to prepare, as best he can, the team’s rookies for what they’ll experience when the first ball goes in the air Friday morning.

    “The No. 1 thing I’ve pictured since the Ryder Cup became a goal is that first tee shot,” Fleetwood said. “But nothing prepares you for the real thing. The grandstand is pretty big – there’s no denying that.

    “It’s something that everybody wants in their career, so as nerve-wracking as it is, and whatever those feelings are, everybody wants that in their life. So you just have to take it on and let it all happen.”  

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    Impressionist Moore creates 'hilarious' video for Euros

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 7:54 am

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The European Ryder Cup team began its week by laughing at itself.

    Noted impressionist Conor Moore made a 10-minute clip in which he took turns poking fun at the 12 team members in a press-conference setting.

    The video has not, and probably will not, be made public.

    “It was extremely funny, I have to say,” Ian Poulter said. “Clips like that, they can help the team get together. Although we’re taking the mickey out of one another, it’s quite a good way to start the week off.”

    The best impression, apparently, was of reigning Open champion Francesco Molinari.

    “I think Fran’s has made me giggle for about 10 hours now," Tommy Fleetwood said. 

    "Just how deadpan he was – just trying to make how excited he was with his deadpan tone. It was perfect, really. It was absolutely spot-on."

    Even the typically stoic Molinari found the video hilarious.

    “I’m actually thinking of it all the time now answering questions, trying to smile a bit more,” he said, laughing.

    So is this the new, more lively version of Molinari?

    “Can’t you tell the difference?” he said dryly.

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    Woods' final round is highest-rated FEC telecast ever

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 9:05 pm

    We've heard it a million times: Tiger Woods doesn't just move the needle, he IS the needle.

    Here's more proof.

    NBC Sports Group's final-round coverage of Woods claiming his 80th career victory in the Tour Championship earned a 5.21 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs and the highest-rated PGA Tour telecast in 2018 (excluding majors).

    The rating was up 206 percent over 2017's Tour Championship.


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    Coverage peaked from 5:30-6PM ET (7.19) as Woods finished his round and as Justin Rose was being crowned the FedExCup champion. That number trailed only the 2018 peaks for the Masters (11.03) and PGA Championship (8.28). The extended coverage window (1:30-6:15 PM ET) posted a 4.35 overnight rating, which is the highest-rated Tour Championship telecast on record.

    Sunday’s final round also saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (up 561 percent year-over-year), and becomes the most-streamed NBC Sports Sunday round (excluding majors) on record.

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    Randall's Rant: Woods' comeback story ranks No. 1

    By Randall MellSeptember 24, 2018, 8:40 pm

    We’re marveling again.

    This time over the essence of the man as much as the athlete, over what Tiger Woods summoned to repair, rebuild and redeem himself, after scandal and injury so ruinously rocked his career.

    We watched in wonder Sunday as Woods completed the greatest comeback in the history of sport.

    That’s how we’re ranking this reconstruction of a champion. (See the rankings below.)

    We marveled over the admiration that flooded into the final scene of his victory at the Tour Championship, over the wave of adoring fans who enveloped him as he marched up the 18th fairway.

    This celebration was different from his coronation, when he won the Masters by 12 shots in 1997, or his masterpiece, when he won the U.S. Open by 15 shots in 2000, or his epic sweep, when he won at Augusta National in ’01 to claim his fourth consecutive major championship title.

    The awe back then was over how invincible Woods could seem in a sport where losing is the week-to-week norm, over how he could decimate the competition as no other player ever has.

    The awe today is as much over the transformed nature of the rebuilt man.

    It’s about what he has overcome since his aura of invincibility was decimated in the disgrace of a sex scandal, in the humiliation of a videotape of a DUI arrest, in the pain of four back surgeries and four knee surgeries and in the maddening affliction of chipping yips and driving and putting woes.

    The wonder is also in imagining the fierce inventory of self-examination that must have been grueling, and in the mustering of inner strength required to overcome foes more formidable than Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and today’s other stars.

    It’s in Woods overcoming shame, ridicule, doubt and probably some despair to rebuild his life outside the game before he could rebuild his life in the game.

    Woods may never let us know the detail or depth of those inner challenges, of what helped him prevail in his more spiritual battles, because he’s still fiercely private. He may never share the keys to rebuilding his sense of himself, but he’s more open than he has ever been. He shares more than he ever has.

    As a father of two children, as a mentor to so many of today’s young players, there’s more depth to the picture of this champion today. There also is more for fans to relate to in his struggles than his success. There’s more of the larger man to marvel over.



    The greatest comebacks in the history of sports:


    1. Tiger Woods

    Four back surgeries and four knee surgeries are just part of the story. It’s why Woods ranks ahead of Ben Hogan. Woods’ comeback was complicated by so many psychological challenges, by the demon doubts created in his sex scandal and DUI arrest. There was shame and ridicule to overcome on a public stage. And then there were the chipping yips, and the driving and putting woes.


    2. Ben Hogan

    On Feb. 2, 1949, a Greyhound bus attempting to pass a truck slammed head on into Hogan’s Cadillac on a Texas highway. Hogan probably saved his life throwing himself over the passenger side to protect his wife, Valerie. He suffered a double fracture of the pelvis, a cracked rib, a fractured collarbone and a broken ankle, but it was a blood clot that nearly killed him a few weeks later. Hogan needed 16 months to recover but would return triumphantly to win the 1950 U.S. Open and five more majors after that.


    3. Niki Lauda

    In the bravest sporting comeback ever, Lauda returned to grand prix racing 38 days after his Ferrari burst into flames in a crash in a race in Germany in 1976. Disfigured from severe burns, the reigning Formula One world champion was back behind the wheel at the Italian Grand Prix, finishing fourth. He won the world championship again in ’77 and ’84.


    4. Greg LeMond

    In 1987, LeMond was shot and nearly killed in a hunting accident. Two years later, he won his second Tour de France title. A year after that, he won it again.


    5. Babe Zaharias

    In 1953, Babe Zaharias underwent surgery for colon cancer. A year later, she won the U.S. Women’s Open wearing a colostomy bag. She also went on to win the Vare Trophy for low scoring average that year.


    6. Monica Seles

    Away from tennis for two years after being stabbed with a knife between the shoulder blades during a match in Germany, Seles won in her return to competition at the 1995 Canadian Open. She was the highest ranked women’s tennis player in the world at the time of the attack.


    7. Lance Armstrong

    After undergoing chemotherapy treatment in a battle with potentially fatal metastatic testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong recovered and went on to win seven Tour de France titles. Of course, the comeback wasn’t viewed in the same light after he was stripped of all those titles after being implicated in a doping conspiracy.


    8. Mario Lemieux

    In the middle of the 1992-93 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins star underwent radiation treatment for Hodgkin disease and missed 20 games. Making a start the same day as his last treatment, Lemieux scored a goal and assist. The Penguins would go on a 17-game winning streak after his return and Lemieux would lead the league in scoring and win the Hart Trophy as league MVP.


    9. Peyton Manning

    Multiple neck surgeries and a spinal fusion kept Manning from playing with the Indianapolis Colts for the entire 2011 season. He was released before the 2012 season and signed with the Denver Broncos. He won his fifth NFL MVP Award in ’13 and helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl in the ’15 season.


    10. Bethany Hamilton

    A competitive surfer at 13, Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack in Hawaii. A month later, she was surfing again. Less than two years later, she was a national champion.