The First Cut is Rough

By October 14, 2003, 4:00 pm
The Big BreakThe Golf Channel aired the second episode of its 10-part original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which 10 scratch golfers from around the country compete in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges.
 
From here on out, one contestant will be eliminated each week until there is just one man left standing. The lucky winner will get the Big Break of his golfing career - exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
 
As the sun was rising for the second show, so, too, were the contestants' fears, knowing that as the darkness fell later that evening only nine would remain and one unfortunate golfer would be sent packing.
 
The fact that someone was going to be gone, yeah, I was nervous about that, confided 41-year-old Jeff Brown of Hampton, Ga. But as far as what we were going to do, what type of shots, I wasnt nervous about that.
 
On the range at the Treetops Resort, the players all had an opportunity to warm up in preparation for the days two challenges ' the skills challenge and the dreaded elimination challenge.
 
While most were hard at work, 56-year-old Garrett Garland seemed more interested in his competition.
 
He was spending more time walking up and down the range feeling, Hey, Im the man, I got it or whatever, noticed a somewhat annoyed Charles Calhoun about Garlands time on the range.
 
Upon arriving at the site of their first challenge, the players were greeted by Golf Channel Troubleshooter Rick Smith and co-host Katherine Roberts. Smith, who will be on hand throughout the series to offer advice, tips and dole out words of encouragement, informed the golfers of the first stiff test.
 
Big Break Episode 2Each was given 90 seconds to try and chip as many balls as they could into a three-foot foam basket attached to the top of a golf cart. But with one catch ' the golf cart would be moving toward and away from them during their allotted time. The player scoring the most direct hits would win a Sony Home Theater System and the all-important Mulligan to be used in the elimination challenge.
 
Wrestling with the physical fatigue and delicate nature of trying to chip as many balls as possible in 90 seconds, the contestants struggled in trying to lock in on the target. After all 10 gave it a go, Justin Peters, Randy Block and Jon Roddy led the way with a total of three direct hits.
 
A playoff ensued and Peters used a last-second buzzer-beater to claim the prize and the mulligan.
 
You couldnt script it any better, I mean, what a great feeling. You know, at the buzzer to win, said Peters, who has played golf on the Hooters Tour. Its just a memory Ill cherish forever.
 
Finally the time had come for the groups first elimination challenge, and time to see whose nerves could withstand the daunting pressure. Distance control was the name of the game.
 
A white stripe was painted across the fairway, 150 yards from the tee box, and the players were told that they would have three attempts to get it as close to the line as possible. Each attempt would count, as the average distance away from the line would be used to determine the order of finish.
 
A version of the good, the bad and the ugly broke out as several of the contestants knocked it stiff, a few landed somewhere in the vicinity of the white line and some, well, werent even in the ballpark.
 
Big Break Episode 2I was real nervous; I did not want to be gone. I didnt feel I deserved to be gone, after the shots I had hit, said Anthony Sorentino. I just didnt want to be out. Id get dogged out by my friends if I was out on the first show.
 
It finally came down to the last swing of the day as Mark Farnham needed to knock it close in order to oust 56-year-old Garrett Garland. Seeing spots and battling dehydration, Farnham let go of what looked like an ugly swing, only to get the results he needed to survive another day.
 
The name of the show is The Big Break. Ive probably had the biggest break so far, said Farnham. The way I finished the first round, its like one of those get out of jail for free cards.
 
As for Garland, his chance at a Big Break had come to an abrupt end.
 
Its a little depressing, but its still OK, said Garland, the first man to miss the cut. I just didnt do as well as I should have. I cant make a lot of excuses about this and that.
 
Be sure to tune in to The Golf Channel Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as the group will face another round of tough challenges to see who will survive, and who will follow Garland off the show.
 
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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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    Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

    Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

    Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

    This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

    Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

    The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.