Big Break Myrtle Beach Set to Premiere Tuesday at 9 P.M. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsOctober 6, 2014, 9:05 pm

Golf Channel’s 22nd season of the popular Big Break original series premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET from one of the more popular golf destinations in the United States, and featuring new format that includes a special twist.  Big Break Myrtle Beach showcases a cast of 12 aspiring professional golfers – six men and six women – competing against each other as individuals for more than $100,000 in cash and prizes, including an exemption to either the 2015 Valspar Championship on the PGA TOUR or the Portland Classic on the LPGA Tour.

SUPER IMMUNITY UP FOR GRABS: Tuesday’s episode kicks off a special twist, where players discover that they will compete in a three-part challenge for ‘Super Immunity’.  The winner of Super Immunity will receive a one-time opportunity to opt out from participating in an elimination challenge during the course of the series and automatically advancing to the next show.  The Super Immunity Challenge will begin with the popular ‘Glass Break Challenge’, where contestants will be required to hit a knockdown shot through a pane of glass in a timely manner; followed by a closest-to-the-hole challenge and concluding with one-hole matches to determine the winner of ‘Super Immunity’.

Produced in partnership with Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and South Carolina Tourism and filmed at Barefoot Resort and Golf in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Big Break Myrtle Beach features a cast of 12 who are at different stages in their professional golf careers.  Several are playing full time various mini tours throughout North America, while others turned professional solely to qualify for Big Break Myrtle Beach.  All 12 will compete against each other in hopes of making their lifelong dream of walking the fairways on the PGA TOUR or LPGA Tour a reality. 

The contestants are:

Jimmy Brandt (31, Auburn, Ala.) – Competing full time on the mini tour circuit, Brandt accumulated six victories and 16 top-10 finishes on the Hopkins Tour in 2012 and 2013.  Brandt earned conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2011 and 2012 via PGA TOUR Q School, and is looking to return to golf’s biggest stages.  His father, who introduced him to the game, also is his full-time caddie.

Katie Detlefsen (25, Eagan, Minn.) – One of the top female junior golfers to come out of Minnesota, Detlefsen has been an LPGA Class A Teaching Professional since graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2011.  A college teammate of fellow Big Break Myrtle Beach competitor Carolin Pinegger, Detlefsen is utilizing her teaching skills in pursuing her dream of competing on the LPGA Tour.  Detlefsen also was a recipient of the prestigious Dinah Shore Award in 2010, an award given annually to a female collegiate golfer who excels in academics and athletics, while also demonstrating outstanding leadership skills and community service.

Katy Harris (35, Humble, Texas) – A top amateur golfer and All-American at Louisiana State University, Harris hung up her golf clubs following graduation in 2001 due to a hand injury.  In 2010, Harris decided to give professional golf another try.  Since returning to competitive golf, Harris qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open three consecutive years (2011-13), recorded victories on the Cactus Tour, CN Canadian Women’s Tour and the Symetra Tour, and earned conditional status on the LPGA Tour for the 2014 season.

Charlie Harrison (23, Atlanta, Ga.) – A graduate of Wake Forest University in 2013, Harrison is currently competing on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the mini tour circuit.  He recorded his first victory as a professional in 2013 on the Open Atlanta Golf Tour.

Christian Heavens (25, Orlando, Fla. / East St. Louis, Ill.) – An alumnus of the First Tee of Greater St. Louis, Heavens credits golf for saving his life and helping him escape from the pressures of the streets of East St. Louis.  A graduate of Georgetown College in Kentucky where he competed on a First Tee Scholars scholarship, Heavens currently is competing on the mini tour circuit and the Florida Professional Golf Tour.

Dave Markle (29, Shelburne, Ontario, Canada) – One of the top amateur golfers from Canada (12th ranked amateur in the world in the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankins in 2008), Markle is competing on PGA TOUR Canada and the mini tour circuit.  Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2011, Markle is an ambassador for the Canadian Diabetes Association, helping raise awareness and funds for Diabetes research.

Toph Peterson (28, Gilbert, Ariz. / Logan, Utah) – A graduate from Utah State University, Peterson is giving professional golf another push after stepping away from the game to start up a designer walking bag company.  He currently is competing full time on various mini tours.

Carolin Pinegger (23, Orlando, Fla. / Schladming, Austria) – One of the more decorated junior golfers out of Austria, Pinegger moved to the United States at age 16 and played college golf at the University of Central Florida (where she was a teammate of fellow Big Break Myrtle Beach competitor Katie Detlefsen).  She turned professional following graduation in 2013 and is competing full time on the Symetra Tour.

Krista Puisite (23, Austin, Texas / Riga, Latvia) – A decorated junior golfer from Latvia where she was a member of the Latvian Junior National Team, Puisite turned professional in early 2014 after graduating from Texas State University. She is competing on the mini tour circuit and the Symetra Tour.

Anthony Quezada (19, Phoenix, Ariz.) – One of the youngest competitors in Big Break series history at age 19, Quezada turned professional in 2013 to achieve his dream of competing on the PGA TOUR.  An alumnus of The First Tee of Phoenix, Quezada recorded 33 victories with the Junior Golf Association of Arizona circuit.  He, along with fellow Big Break Myrtle Beach competitor Dave Markle, has Type I Diabetes, and wants to use golf as a platform to spread awareness for Diabetes research. 

Tessa Teachman (24, Baton Rouge, La.) – Currently a member of the Ladies European Tour, Teachman is playing competitive golf in good health for the first time since college at Louisiana State University, where she finished third individually at the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships as a senior.  Following graduation in 2012, she underwent wrist surgery to repair multiple torn tendons in her right wrist – an injury that plagued her throughout college.  Following rehabilitation, she earned status on the Ladies European Tour in late 2013 and is playing a full schedule on the LET and the mini tour circuit in the United States in 2014.

Emily Tubert (22, Burbank, Calif.) – A three-time All-American at the University of Arkansas, Tubert is competing on Big Break Myrtle Beach fresh off of graduating from college in May.  While she might be one of the younger competitors on the series, on paper she is one of the favorites. Her resume includes: winning the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, a member of the 2012 U.S. Curtis Cup Team, a three-time All-American at the University of Arkansas and was a participant in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur.  Earlier this year, she was the recipient of the prestigious Dinah Shore Award, an award given annually to a female collegiate golfer who excels in academics and athletics, while also demonstrating outstanding leadership skills and community service.

BIG BREAKDOWN TO AIR ON GOLFCHANNEL.COM TUESDAYS AT 10 P.M. ET: GolfChannel.com’s Bailey Mosier will host and moderate a new online series, Big Breakdown, recapping each episode in a roundtable discussion format.  On Tuesday’s premiere, Mosier will be joined by Scott Lee, lead producer for Big Break Myrtle Beach, Chris Graham, challenge producer for Big Break Myrtle Beach, and Emily Tubert, Big Break Myrtle Beach contestant.  They discuss the action that occurred during the challenges and give viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the series.

PAIGE MACKENZIE JOINS AS CO-HOST: Serving as co-hosts for Big Break Myrtle Beach will be Tom Abbott and Paige Mackenzie.  Mackenzie, a seven-year veteran of the LPGA Tour who also currently serves as a Golf Channel analyst, will make her Big Break co-hosting debut, providing analysis from a player’s perspective and detailing the pressure the competitors will face with each challenge.

GRAND PRIZE: The winner of Big Break Myrtle Beach will receive more than $100,000 in cash and prizes, including:

  • An exemption to the 2015 Valspar Championship on the PGA TOUR or the 2015 Portland Classic on the LPGA Tour.
  • $75,000 in cash, including $5,000 courtesy of Dick’s Sporting Goods, $10,000 courtesy of Macanudo and $10,000 courtesy of Adams Golf.
  • Full, exempt status on  the 2015 SwingThought.com Tour or the 2015 Symetra Tour, with all entry fees paid.
  • An endorsement contract from Adams Golf.
  • $10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental.
  • $10,000 in travel credit courtesy of Travelocity.
  • A seven-day, six-night all-expenses paid return trip to Myrtle Beach with accommodations provided by North Beach Plantation and six rounds of golf that can be played at any of Myrtle Beach’s 100 premiere golf courses.

HOST GOLF COURSES: Filmed on location in June, the series will unfold on three of Barefoot Resort’s award-winning golf courses – The Dye, Fazio and Love Courses – as well as Pawleys Plantation on Pawleys Island.

  • The Dye Course, a classic Pete Dye layout, has been ranked among the nation’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest and was recently named 2013 South Carolina Golf Course of the Year by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association.
  • The Fazio Course, designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio, has been ranked as one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest. 
  • The Love Course, designed by Carolina native Davis Love III, is ranked among America's Top 100 You Can Play by Golf Magazine for years and as the top-ranked golf course in Myrtle Beach by Golf Digest. 
  • Pawleys Plantation, the award-winning Jack Nicklaus design just south of Myrtle Beach on Pawleys Island.

The Marina Inn and Resort at Grande Dunes served as official host resort for the competitors during the filming of the series.

SERIES FORMAT: 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 Myrtle Beach, the competitors will compete as individuals and will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall.”  One contestant will be eliminated each week, with the last player standing awarded his or her Big Break, an opportunity to compete on the PGA TOUR or LPGA Tour in 2015.

BIG BREAK HISTORY: For the past 21 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad for many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers, including PGA TOUR winners Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey and Matt Every, and U.S. Solheim Cup participants Kristy McPherson, Gerina Piller and Ryann O’Toole, all playing full time on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour, respectively.  Several other past Big Break competitors are currently competing on the world’s top tours, including Jackie Stoelting, Sadena Parks and Mallory Blackwelder on the LPGA Tour in 2015, Tony Finau on the PGA TOUR and Hugo Leon, James Nitties and Mark Silvers on the Web.com Tour. Golf Channel also has expanded the Big Break franchise to a live tournament – Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation – where a field of 40 past Big Break contestants competed for a $300,000 purse and $100,000 going to the champion.  Big Break Mexico contestant Jay Woodson captured the inaugural trophy and the $100,000 prize.

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HOFer Stephenson: Robbie wants to play me in movie

By Will GrayOctober 22, 2018, 4:20 pm

Margot Robbie has already starred in one sports-related biopic, and if she gets her way a second opportunity might not be far behind.

Robbie earned an Academy Award nomination for her work last year as former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in the movie, I Tonya. She also has a desire to assume the role of her fellow Aussie, Jan Stephenson, in a movie where she would trade in her skates for a set of golf clubs.

That's at least according to Stephenson, who floated out the idea during an interview with Golf Australia's Inside the Ropes podcast shortly after being announced as part of the next class of World Golf Hall of Fame inductees.

"We've talked about doing a movie. Margot Robbie wants to play me," Stephenson said.

There certainly would be a resemblance between the two Australian blondes, as Robbie has become one of Hollywood's leading ladies while Stephenson was on the cutting edge of sex appeal during her playing career. In addition to several magazine covers, Stephenson also racked up 16 LPGA wins between 1976-87 including three majors.

Robbie, 28, has also had starring roles in Suicide Squad and The Wolf of Wall Street.

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Monday Scramble: Who's No. 1 ... in the long run?

By Ryan LavnerOctober 22, 2018, 4:00 pm

Brooks Koepka becomes golf’s new king, Sergio Garcia enjoys the Ryder Cup bump, Danielle Kang overcomes the demons, Michelle Wie goes under the knife and more in this week’s edition of Monday Scramble:

Brooks Koepka added an exclamation point to his breakout year.

His red-hot finish at the CJ Cup not only earned him a third title in 2018, but with the victory he leapfrogged Dustin Johnson to become the top-ranked player in the world for the first time.

That top spot could become a revolving door over the next few months, with Johnson, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose all vying for No. 1, but it’s a fitting coda to Koepka’s stellar year that included two more majors and Player of the Year honors.

For a player whose team searches long and hard for slights, there’s no questioning now his place in the game.


1. DJ won three events this season, but he wasn’t able to create much separation between him and the rest of the world’s best players.

Koepka’s rise to No. 1 made him the fourth player to reach the top spot this year, and the third in the past month.

Who has the greatest potential to get to No. 1 and stay there? Johnson is the best bet in the short term, but he’s also 34. Koepka will be a threat in the majors as long as he stays healthy. So the belief here is that it’ll be Justin Thomas, who is 25, without weakness and, best of all, hungry for more success.  

2. Koepka had an eventful final round at the CJ Cup. Staked to a four-shot lead in the final round, his advantage was trimmed to one after a sloppy start, then he poured it on late with an inward 29. He punctuated his historic victory with an eagle on the 72nd hole, smirking as it tumbled into the cup.

It was his fifth career Tour title – but only his second non-major. Weird.

3. How appropriate that golf’s most underappreciated talent – at least in his estimation – became world No. 1 in a limited-field event that finished at 2 a.m. on the East Coast. Somehow he’ll spin this into being overlooked, again.



4. Sergio Garcia carried all of that Ryder Cup momentum into the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where he earned the hat trick by capturing his third consecutive title there.

While the rest of the world’s best gathered in Korea or rested for global golf’s finishing kick, Garcia won the weather-delayed event by four shots over Shane Lowry. Garcia’s foundation hosts the tournament, and he extended his crazy-good record there: In 14 career appearances at Valderrama, he has three wins, seven top-3s, nine top-5s and 13 top-10s.

Garcia, who went 3-1 at the recent Ryder Cup, became the first player since Ernie Els (2004) to win the same European Tour event three years in a row.

5. Gary Woodland probably doesn’t want 2018 to end.

He was the runner-up at the CJ Cup, his second consecutive top-5 to start the season. He made 11(!) birdies in the final round and now is a combined 37 under par for the first two starts of the new season.

6. This definitely wasn’t the Ryder Cup.

Four shots back, and the closest pursuer to Koepka, Ian Poulter had a chance to put pressure on the leader in the final round. Instead, he was left in the dust, mustering only three birdies and getting waxed by seven shots (64-71) on the last day. Poulter tumbled all the way into a tie for 10th.



7. It hasn’t been the easiest road for Danielle Kang since she won the 2017 Women’s PGA.

The 26-year-old said she’s dealt with anxiety for months and has battled both putting and full-swing yips. Her problems were so deep that a week ago, she stood over the ball for four minutes and couldn’t pull the trigger.

No wonder she said that she was “pretty stunned” to hold off a bevy of challengers to win her second career title at the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

“I’m finally at a place where I’m peaceful and happy with my game, with my life,” she said.

8. In the middle of the seven-way tie for second in China was Ariya Jutanugarn, who will return to No. 1 in the world for the second time this season.

9. Also in that logjam was another former top-ranked player, Lydia Ko, who had tumbled all the way to 17th. Ko hasn’t been able to build off of her slump-busting victory earlier this summer, but she now has six consecutive top-16 finishes and at least seems more comfortable in her new position.

“Sometimes you get too carried away about the awards and rankings,” she said. “It just becomes so much. I think it’s more important to keep putting myself there and … shooting in the 60s, and that way I think it builds the confidence and the rankings kind of sort itself out.”


Here's how Tiger Woods explained his pitiful performance at the Ryder Cup: “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf.”

Of course, he looked just fine a week earlier at East Lake, where he snapped a five-year winless drought with one of the most memorable weeks of his legendary career. His training wasn’t a topic of conversation there.

It's reasonable to expect that the emotional victory took a lot of out of him, but if he was so gassed, why did he sit only one team session and go 36 on Saturday? By Sunday night, Woods looked like he was running on empty, so either he wasn't upfront with captain Jim Furyk about his energy levels, or Furyk ran him out there anyway.

This week's award winners ...  


Can’t Catch a Break: Michelle Wie. The star-crossed talent announced that she’ll miss the rest of the season to undergo surgery to repair a troublesome hand injury. Maybe one of these years she’ll be able to play a full schedule, without physical setbacks.  

Grab the Mic: Paul Azinger. Taking Johnny Miller’s seat in the booth, Azinger will call all four days of action at every Golf Channel/NBC event, beginning at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He was the most logical (and best) choice to follow the inimitable Miller.

Take That, Dawdler: Corey Pavin. It was Pavin – and not the notoriously slow Bernhard Langer – who earned the first slow-play penalty on the PGA Tour Champions in what seemed like ages. The one-shot penalty dropped him to 15th in the event.

Long Time Coming: Jason Day. His tie for fifth at the CJ Cup was his best finish worldwide since … The Players? Really. Wow.



The Tumble Continues: Jordan Spieth. In the latest world rankings, Spieth is officially out of the top 10 for the first time since November 2014. A reminder that he finished last year at No. 2.

Clutch Performances: Andalucia Masters. Both Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Richie Ramsay both moved inside the top 116 in the Race to Dubai standings, securing their European Tour cards for next season. Gonzo tied for fifth in the regular-season finale, while Ramsay was joint 11th.

That’s Messed Up: CJ Cup purse. As colleague Will Gray noted, the purse for the 78-man event was $9.5 million – or $400K more than the first 15 events of the Web.com Tour schedule combined. The difference between the haves and have-nots has never been larger.

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Justin Thomas. The defending champion never could get started in Korea, closing with his low round of the week, a 4-under 68, just to salvage a tie for 36th. Sigh.  

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Azinger: 'Can't see anybody beating Tiger' at his best

By Will GrayOctober 22, 2018, 2:44 pm

There's a new world No. 1, and a fresh crop of young guns eager to make their mark on the PGA Tour in 2019. But according to Paul Azinger, the player with the highest ceiling is still the same as it was when he was walking inside the ropes.

Azinger was named Monday as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports, and on "Morning Drive" he was asked which player is the best when all are playing their best. The former PGA champion pondered new world No. 1 Brooks Koepka and former No. 1 Dustin Johnson, but he came back around to a familiar answer: Tiger Woods.

"I just can't see anybody beating Tiger when Tiger's at his best. I just can't see it," Azinger said. "He's not his best yet, but he's almost his best. And when Tiger's his best, there's more that comes with Tiger than just the score he shoots. That crowd comes with Tiger, and it's a whole 'nother dynamic when Tiger's at his best. And I'm just going to have to say that when Tiger's at his best, he's still the best."

Woods, 42, started this year ranked No. 656 in the world but had a resurgent season that included a pair of near-misses at The Open and PGA Championship and culminated with his win at the Tour Championship that ended a five-year victory drought. For Azinger, the question now becomes how he can follow up a breakthrough campaign as he looks to contend consistently against players from a younger generation.

"That's why we watch, to see if he can maintain that. To see what he's capable of," Azinger said. "Now longevity becomes the issue for Tiger Woods. In seven or eight years, he's going to be 50 years old. That goes fast. I'm telling you, that goes really fast."

When Woods returns to action, he'll do so with a focus on the upcoming Masters as he looks to capture the 15th major title that has eluded him for more than a decade. With bombers like Koepka and Johnson currently reigning on the PGA Tour, Azinger believes the key for Woods will be remaining accurate while relying on the world-class iron play that has been a strength throughout his career.

"I think he's going to have to recognize that he's not the beast out there when it comes to smacking that ball off the tee. But I'd like to see him try to hit a couple more fairways periodically. That'd be nice," he said. "If he can drive that ball in the fairway, with that putter, we've seen what his putter is capable of. The sky's the limit, boys."

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Spieth drops out of top 10 for first time since 2014

By Will GrayOctober 22, 2018, 2:08 pm

As Brooks Koepka ascended to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, a former No. 1 continued a notable decline.

Jordan Spieth didn't play last week's CJ Cup, where Koepka won by four shots. But Jason Day did, and his T-5 finish in South Korea moved him up two spots from No. 12 to No. 10 in the latest rankings. Spieth dropped from 10th to 11th, marking the first time that he has been outside the top 10 in the world rankings since November 2014.

Since that time, he has won 12 times around the world, including three majors, while spending 26 weeks as world No. 1. But he hasn't won a tournament since The Open last July, and this year he missed the Tour Championship for the first time in his career. Spieth is expected to make his season debut next week in Las Vegas at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


Koepka and Day were the only movers among the top 10 on a week that saw many top players remain in place. Sergio Garcia's rain-delayed win at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters moved him up four spots to No. 27, while Gary Woodland went from 38th to 30th after finishing second behind Koepka on Jeju Island.

Koepka will tee off as world No. 1 for the first time this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where new No. 2 Dustin Johnson will look to regain the top spot. Justin Rose is now third in the world, with Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Day rounding out the top 10.

With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods remained 13th in the world for the fifth straight week.