Former 'Big Break' competitors Trudeau, Blackwelder engaged

By Jason SobelSeptember 4, 2013, 8:07 pm

Upon first glance, Julien Trudeau and Mallory Blackwelder are one of “those” couples.

Yep, they met on a reality television show.

This wasn’t one of those reality shows devoted to people finding their one true love, though. One of those which creates romance in hour-long increments with the tedious scenes left on the cutting room floor to help ratings.

They met on “Big Break Ireland,” the 2011 edition of the long-running Golf Channel series which affords aspiring professional golfers the opportunity to compete in a big-time environment.

If Tommy Gainey, the first “Big Break” alum to win a PGA Tour event, remains the show’s ultimate success story, then Trudeau and Blackwelder are its greatest feel-good tale.

Photos: Cast of 'Big Break Ireland'

A couple of weeks after the show finished filming, Trudeau, who finished runner-up on the finale, offered to caddie for Blackwelder at a few events. The player-caddie relationship blossomed into something more that summer. Two years later, with Trudeau firmly entrenched as the caddie for Graham DeLaet on the PGA Tour and Blackwelder pursuing her LPGA dreams on developmental tours, they remain together.

And just last week, they got engaged to be married.

Yep, just another reality show couple … OK, maybe not.

“I don’t say it’s a reality show,” she says with a laugh. “I say it’s a golf competition show, just so they don’t get the wrong idea.”

He agrees, explaining, “This wasn’t ‘The Bachelor.’ I was going there to win 50 grand. I needed to win to keep my career going.”

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, either.

“We’re going to Ireland,” Blackwelder recalls. “He comes into the airport and he looks completely hungover. He had the hood of his hoodie up over his head. My first thought was this guy’s a weirdo.”

“We weren’t there to try to find a significant other. I was there to play golf. It wasn’t like I looked at him and thought, he’s the one.”

In fact, if fate hadn’t intervened during the show, they might never have found out.

Trudeau and Blackwelder were on different teams, meaning that once on-course filming ended each day, they would retreat to separate houses where they stayed with teammates.

“If one of us had gotten eliminated early, we wouldn’t be together,” he says. “Everything worked out so well. We got to know each other and it just kind of kept building from there.”

They will now build a marriage into their hectic schedules. Last week, on the morning after DeLaet claimed a career-best share of second place at The Barclays, Trudeau proposed in a New York City hotel room over Starbucks coffee.

Trudeau BlackwelderJust a few hours later, he was dropping her off at the airport, another flight leading to another golf tournament.

“It’s been hard,” Blackwelder says. “He’s in the middle of a 13-week stretch. He caddies for me on his off weeks, then I go to travel with him on my off weeks from playing.”

Indeed, with the PGA Tour on a bye, Trudeau is looping for his fiancée at the Colorado Women’s Open this week – pro bono, of course.

It may sound like a whirlwind life, but it’s one to which Blackwelder has long been accustomed.

Her father, Worth, met her mother, Myra, at LPGA Q-School in the late-1970s when she was attempting to get her card and he was caddying. Myra became the Rookie of the Year in 1980 en route to a lengthy career; Worth caddied for the likes of Patty Sheehan, Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper, and remains on the bag of Cristie Kerr these days. Even her brother, Myles, got into the family business, currently caddying for Jodi Ewart-Shadoff.

“I’ve seen how my parents made it work. My family has always been crazy and in all different directions, so I’m used to that,” Mallory explains. “The fact that I am following in my parents footsteps is pretty funny. I joke around with them, like, ‘Why did you let me do this?’ But no, it’s good. It’s a unique story. There aren’t too many families as into pro golf as we are.”

In a relationship that was born on a show which helps launch competitive golf careers, it helps that both Trudeau and Blackwelder understand the struggles of having non-traditional jobs.

“It’s hard, but we both get it,” he says. “We both understand how it works. We try to see each other as much as possible. When I get off the course, she’s the first person I talk to. She’s my best friend.”

He then pauses for a few seconds, considers having a wedding around their hectic schedules and readily admits, “Now the biggest challenge is trying to find a date where everyone isn’t working.”

Followed by a honeymoon – or as they may call it, a “Big Break.”

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”