Big Break Indian Wells to premiere May 16

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 19, 2011, 12:43 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – It will be winner take all as 11 professionals put their golf skills, and money, on the line when Golf Channel’s “Big Break” returns for its 15th season on May 16 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

“Big Break Indian Wells” will feature an all-male cast who are at different stages of their professional careers. Some have competed professionally on top tours, while others are just beginning their journey in professional golf. The 10-episode series will feature an all-new format – each competitor will begin with $5,000, with the objective to win each other’s earnings on the golf course and to be the last man standing. The champion will take home the most valuable prize in series history – an exemption to a 2012 PGA Tour event and a minimum of $55,000 in cash.

The contestants are:

Robbie Biershenk (34, Greenville, S.C.) – Younger brother of Nationwide Tour professional Tommy Biershenk, Robbie is owner of Shank’s Golf Range and Learning Center in Greenville.

Hernan “Piri” Borja (25, Coral Springs, Fla.) – Son of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Soccer team captain Chico Borja, Piri wants to follow in the footsteps of his famous father by becoming an Olympian – only on the golf course.

David Byrne (23, Essex, Ontario, Canada / Orlando, Fla.) – The youngest competitor on the show, he recently graduated from the University of Detroit-Mercy where he was 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year.

Kent Eger (30, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada / Scottsdale, Ariz.) – Eger is currently competing on the Canadian and Gateway Tours, recording victories on both circuits in 2010. Eger is the lone competitor to have competed in a major championship, the 2010 U.S. Open.

Robert Floyd (35, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) – The most experienced competitor, Floyd is the son of Raymond Floyd. Robert has competed in more than 30 PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour events over the past the past 15 years.

Oren Geri (37, Tel Aviv Israel / Orlando, Fla.) – Both the top-ranked amateur and professional golfer from Israel, Geri has represented his native country in numerous International events, including several World Cup matches.

John Lepak (30, La Habra Heights, Calif.) – Lepak has competed on the Gateway and Golden State Tours for the past several years, and believes his goal of competing on the PGA Tour is within reach.

Will Lowery (26, Charlotte, N.C.) – A former competitive tennis player, Lowery plays with a cross-handed grip. Lowery recently turned professional and volunteers at the First Tee of Charlotte, teaching life lessons and core values on and off the course to youth of similar backgrounds.

Russell Normandin (36, Woonsocket, R.I.) – A Master Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. Currently deployed in Afghanistan for “Operation Enduring Freedom,” Normandin has one goal in mind: to be the only current active-duty Marine to compete on the PGA Tour in 2012.

Justin Payne (30, Floydada, Texas) – One of the top junior golfers coming out of Texas, Payne has had several false starts in getting his golf career on the fast track due to injuries and family matters. Currently, Payne competes part-time on the Adams Tour while managing the family ranch with his father.

Carl Whyte (32, Salisbury, Md.) – A nationally recognized track star from Jamaica, Whyte turned professional in2010 and plays golf with three different grips – a baseball grip to hit straight golf shots, an interlocking grip to hit fades and an overlapping grip to hit draws.

Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott and Stephanie Sparks return as co-hosts for the series.

Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”