All-Star Cast Returns To Team Up With NFL Legends on Golf Channel's Big Break NFL From Puerto Rico

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 6, 2013, 1:40 pm

BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico will be all about reunion, redemption and teamwork this fall when 12 previous BIG BREAK competitors return to team up with six of the NFL’s all-time greats, premiering Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. ET and airing weekly on Tuesday nights.

BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico will feature an all-star cast comprised of several of the series’ most captivating and polarizing personalities returning for a second chance at kick starting their professional golf careers.  Two past BIG BREAK competitors – one male and one female, will join one NFL legend to form three-person teams.  The series will feature a new format twist to BIG BREAK – teams will win or lose as teams.  On the line will be $50,000 to the winning NFL legend’s designated charity, along with 2014 PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour tournament exemptions, cash and other prizes for the BIG BREAK competitors.

The teams competing on BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico are:

Team Brown
Tim Brown
(46, Dallas, Texas, 3 handicap, 17-year NFL wide receiver, 1987 Heisman Trophy winner)
Mallory Blackwelder (26, Versailles, Ky. / Scottsdale, Ariz. – Big Break Ireland)
Will Lowery (28, Charlotte, N.C. – BIG BREAK INDIAN WELLS)

Team Bulger
Marc Bulger
(36, Sarasota, Fla., 4 handicap, 10-year NFL quarterback and two-time Pro Bowler)
Zakiya Randall (21, Washington, D.C. – Big Break Atlantis)
Chad Schulze (25, Cockeysville, Md. – BIG BREAK MEXICO)

Team Del Greco
Al Del Greco
(51, Birmingham, Ala., +1 handicap, 17-year NFL placekicker)
Stefanie Kenoyer (24, Lighthouse Point, Fla. – BIG BREAK MEXICO)
Oren Geri (39, Altamonte Springs, Fla. – BIG BREAK INDIAN WELLS)

Team Doleman
Chris Doleman
(51, Atlanta, Ga., 3 handicap, 2012 Pro Football Hall-of-Fame Inductee and 15-year NFL defensive lineman)
Shannon Fish (24, Spring, Texas – BIG BREAK ATLANTIS)
Brian Cooper (46, Phoenix, Ariz. – Big Break Greenbrier)

Team Rice
Jerry Rice
(50, Atherton, Calif., 1 handicap, Pro Football Hall-of-Fame wide receiver and three-time Super Bowl champion)
Emily Talley (23, Napa, Calif. – BIG BREAK MEXICO)
Isaac Sanchez (34, Folsom, Calif. – BIG BREAK GREENBRIER)

Team Rypien
Mark Rypien
(50, Spokane, Wash., 1 handicap, 12-year NFL quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion)
Meghan Hardin (21, La Quinta, Calif. – BIG BREAK ATLANTIS)
James Lepp (28, Abbotsford, British Columbia – BIG BREAK GREENBRIER)

“Not many people in our sport get this kind of opportunity to be on Big Break in the first place, let alone two Big Breaks in one year.  I’m blessed to have another opportunity to give it another go.” – BIG BREAK MEXICO competitor Stefanie Kenoyer

“Big Break Greenbrier started a great year for me, and now I have another pinch me moment by coming back for another Big Break.  I can only think of one way to cap this off.”- BIG BREAK GREENBRIER competitor Brian Cooper

“I was driving and all of a sudden the thought crossed my mind that it would be really cool to be on Big Break again.  Ten minutes later I got the phone call out of the blue.  I committed to it right on the phone, saying ‘Wherever you need me to be, I’ll be there with a smile on my face.’” – BIG BREAK ATLANTIS competitor Shannon Fish

“Big Break Ireland was one of the greatest experiences in my life.  We joke all of the time how I have unfinished business on Big Break.  And then I got the call for the reunion show.  Everything happens for a reason.” – BIG BREAK IRELAND competitor Mallory Blackwelder

“People look at me and think, ‘I know that guy from somewhere,’ and then they take a look at my cross-handed grip and golf swing and say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s Will from Big Break.’ I’m excited to put the golf swing on display once again.” – BIG BREAK INDIAN WELLS competitor Will Lowery

Golf Channel’s BIG BREAK show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico, teams will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including two of the series’ signature challenges, the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall” challenges.  The series also will feature special guest appearances from World Golf Hall-of-Fame member and Puerto Rico’s own Chi Chi Rodriguez and two-time Super Bowl winner and NBC’s Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison.

NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football sideline reporter and Emmy Award-winner Michele Tafoya also joins Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott to co-host BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico.  Tafoya, who has covered the NFL for more than 10 years, is entering her third season as a sideline reporter for NBC after seven years with ABC and ESPN as a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football.

Serving as the backdrop for BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico will be the luxurious Dorado Beach Resort in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.  Produced in partnership with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the series will unfold on the resort’s historic East Course, a par-72 layout that features panoramic sight lines of the Atlantic Ocean on 15 of 18 holes.  Originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, the course was recently redesigned by Robert Trent Jones II, bringing the classic seaside course into the 21st century.

Past BIG BREAK champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, including the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Canadian Tour.

Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, BIG BREAK VII: REUNION champion and PGA TOUR professional, captured his first PGA TOUR victory in 2012 at The McGladrey Classic and is playing full-time on the PGA TOUR.  Gerina Piller (BIG BREAK PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND competitor) will compete next week in the 2013 Solheim Cup, representing Team U.S.A. as a Captain’s Pick.  2011 Solheim Cup team member Ryann O’Toole (BIG BREAK SANDALS RESORTS competitor) and 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Kristy McPherson (BIG BREAK VI: TRUMP NATIONAL competitor) also are currently playing full-time on the LPGA Tour.  Several other past BIG BREAK competitors are currently competing on the world’s top tours, including Matt Every (PGA TOUR), James Nitties and Mark Silvers (Web.com Tour) and Kim Welch, Nicole Smith, Kelly Jacques (LPGA Tour).

Become a fan of BIG BREAK on Facebook at: facebook.com/GolfChannel.BigBreak
Follow BIG BREAK on Twitter @BigBreak

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Bhatia loses U.S. Am match after caddie-cart incident

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 2:21 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – One of the hottest players in amateur golf had his U.S. Amateur run end Wednesday under unusual circumstances.

Akshay Bhatia, the 16-year-old left-hander who has been dominating the junior golf circuit over the past year, squandered a late lead in his eventual 19-hole loss to Bradford Tilley in the Round of 64.

Bhatia was all square against Tilley as they played Pebble Beach’s par-5 14th hole. After knocking his second shot onto the green, Bhatia and his caddie, Chris Darnell, stopped to use the restroom. Bhatia walked up to the green afterward, but Darnell asked what he thought was a USGA official for a ride up to the green.

“The gentleman was wearing a USGA pullover,” Darnell explained afterward. “I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes. So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”

Conditions of the competition prohibit players and caddies from riding on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized.

It turns out that the cart that Darnell rode on was not driven by a USGA official. Rather, it was just a volunteer wearing USGA apparel. A rules official who was in the area spotted the infraction and assessed Bhatia an adjustment penalty, so instead of winning the hole with a birdie-4 to move 1 up, the match remained all square.


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Even more interesting was what Darnell said happened earlier in the match.

“I had already seen the other caddie in our group do it on the ninth hole,” Darnell said. “Same thing – USGA pullover, drove him from the bathroom up to the fairway – so I assumed it was fine. I didn’t point it out at the time because everything seemed kosher. He had the USGA stuff on, and I didn’t think anything of it.”

Bhatia won the 15th hole to go 1 up, but lost the 17th and 19th holes with bogeys to lose the match. He didn’t blame the outcome on the cart incident.  

“What can you do? I’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in this tournament, so I’m not too upset about it,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because I deserved to win that match. That wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I can’t do anything about it.”

Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C., has been a dominant force in the junior ranks, going back-to-back at the Junior PGA (including this dramatic hole-out), capturing the AJGA Polo, taking the Sage Valley Invitational and reaching the finals of the U.S. Junior.

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1, 2, 3 out: Thornberry, Suh, Morikawa lose at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The top three players in the world had a tough afternoon Wednesday at Pebble Beach.

Braden Thornberry, Justin Suh and Collin Morikawa – Nos. 1-3, respectively, in the World Amateur Golf Ranking – all lost their Round of 64 matches at the U.S. Amateur.

Thornberry lost, 2 and 1, to Jesus Montenegro of Argentina. As the No. 1 amateur in the world, the Ole Miss senior was in line to receive the McCormack Medal, which would exempt him into both summer Opens in 2019, provided he remains amateur. But now he’ll need to wait and see how the rankings shake out.

Suh and Morikawa could have played each other in the Round of 32, but instead they were both heading home early.


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Suh, a junior at USC, never led in his 1-up loss to Harrison Ott, while Cal's Morikawa lost to another Vanderbilt player, John Augenstein, in 19 holes.

Englishman Matthew Jordan is the fourth-ranked player in the world, but he didn’t make the 36-hole stroke-play cut.

The highest-ranked player remaining is Oklahoma State junior Viktor Hovland, who is ranked fifth. With his college coach, Alan Bratton, on the bag, Hovland beat his Cowboys teammate, Hayden Wood, 3 and 2, to reach the Round of 32.

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Fiery Augenstein outduels Morikawa at U.S. Amateur

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 12:55 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Around the Vanderbilt golf team John Augenstein’s nickname is “Flash,” and it’s easy to see why.

The swing loaded with speed.

The on-course charisma.

The big shot in the big moment.

The Commodores junior added another highlight to his growing collection Wednesday, when he defeated world No. 3 Collin Morikawa in 19 holes during a Round of 64 match at the U.S. Amateur.

Out of sorts early at Pebble Beach, Augenstein was 2 down to Morikawa after butchering the short seventh and then misplaying a shot around the green on 8.

Standing on the ninth tee, he turned to Vanderbilt assistant coach/caddie Gator Todd: "I need to play the best 10 holes of my life to beat Collin."

And did he?

“I don’t know,” he said later, smirking, “but I did enough.”

Augenstein won the ninth hole after Morikawa dumped his approach shot into the hazard, drained a 30-footer on 10 to square the match and then took his first lead when he rolled in a 10-footer on 14.

One down with three holes to go, Morikawa stuffed his approach into 16 while Augenstein, trying to play a perfect shot, misjudged the wind and left himself in a difficult position, short and right of the green. Augenstein appeared visibly frustrated once he found his ball, buried in the thick ryegrass short of the green. He told Todd that he didn’t think he’d be able to get inside of Morikawa’s shot about 6 feet away, but he dumped his pitch shot onto the front edge, rode the slope and trickled it into the cup for an unlikely birdie.

“Come on!” he yelled, high-fiving Todd and tossing his wedge at his bag.

“It was beautiful,” Todd said. “I’m not sure how he did that, but pretty cool that it went in.”  


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Morikawa answered by making birdie, then won the 17th with a par before both players halved the home hole with birdies.

On the first extra hole, Augenstein hit his approach to 15 feet while Morikawa left it short. Morikawa raced his first putt by 6 feet and then missed the comebacker to lose the match.

It may not have been the best 10-hole stretch of Augenstein’s career, but after that pep talk on 9 tee, he went 4 under to the house.

“He’s a fiery little dude,” Morikawa said of his 5-foot-8-inch opponent. “You don’t want to get him on the wrong side because you never know what’s going to happen. He’s not going to give shots away.”

The first-round match was a rematch of the Western Amateur quarterfinals two weeks ago, where Augenstein also won, that time by a 4-and-2 margin.

“It’s the most fun format and where I can be my true self – emotional and aggressive and beat people,” Augenstein said.

That’s what he did at the 2017 SECs, where he won the deciding points in both the semifinals and the finals. He starred again a few weeks later at the NCAA Championship, last season went 3-0 in SEC match play, and now has earned a reputation among his teammates as a primetime player.

“I’ve hit a lot of big shots and putts in my career,” said Augenstein, ranked 26th in the world after recently winning the Players Amateur. “I get locked in and focused, and there’s not a shot that I don’t think I can pull off. I’m not scared to fail.”

The comeback victory against Morikawa – a three-time winner last season at Cal and one of the best amateurs in the world – didn’t surprise Todd. He’s seen firsthand how explosive Augenstein can be on the course.

“He’s just fiery,” Todd said. “He does things under pressure that you’re not supposed to do. He’s just a special kid.”

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.