Tee to Greens Behind the Scenes

By Constantin Preda, Big Break ProducerOctober 26, 2010, 11:39 pm

I just keep getting lucky with the episodes I get to work on. We’re at the midway point in Big Break Dominican Republic, and the competitive spirit of the competitors is erupting. In the beginning, all of the players vowed to keep their cool—especially since they have all been here before on past Big Breaks. That is hard with $100,000 and a major tour exemption on the line, and the hope of redemption.

Anthony and Sara are nipping at each other, Elena and Andrew are butting heads, and tension is percolating between Elena and Lori, Christina and David and…well you get my point.

We threw a lot of curve balls at this season’s Big Breakers: a two strike rule, getting benched, strike erasers, a battle of the sexes. It’s a perfect blend for drama.

In episode 5, the guys are at their lowest point. You can feel their disappointment. I personally hate to see it, because I got to know these players on the course, in interviews and off camera, and my job is to help you get to know these players more personally on TV.

So, how do we Golf Channel producers do it? We give you more than just the competition. We also give you what we call verite’ moments. Basically, our camera ops roll on small interactions that reveal what’s going on inside the minds of the players. At Breakfast, Safe City, team huddles – these are the places where we get a behind-the- scenes peek at what’s going down in the Dominican Republic.

I love finding these in post production, and I think show 5 has a few entertaining ones, like Brian wanting to cheer “dominate” in segment 1 before the Increasing Length Challenge. Just seeing the other guys humorously deny Brian weaves us into a situational comedic nugget. Then, when Anthony is fed up after Brian’s “missing the green is like missing my face with a fork” comment – it doesn’t get more real.

Now, we also know why you really tune in to Big Break: the unique challenges. This show has some interesting ones, starting with the Increasing Length Challenge. I remember just being amazed at the 12 successful shots the women made—really awesome.

Then there’s the Limbo Wall.”  At first, I thought that hitting it under 8 feet wouldn’t be a problem for our seasoned players, but I was surprised when A-Rod and Sara missed the green in the first round. They are seasoned tour players, and it just goes to show how much pressure is added on Big Break.

Finally, there is the Match My Shot challenge. Again, it’s shocking to see Blake and Andrew get so close (9’ 4”), only to then witness Sara hit it 6’ 5” from Lori’s ball effectively beating the boys…again. You can’t script this kind of suspense and drama. Now don’t forget, in show 5 the players get rained out. Andrew and Elena have to sleep on it before competing in the Benching Challenge in the next show called Water Under The Bridge. Stay tuned.

Getty Images

Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

Getty Images

Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

Getty Images

River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

Getty Images

First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.