Golf Channel's Big Break Series Heads to Mexico For 19th Season

By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 19, 2013, 5:04 pm

Golf Channel’s popular Big Break reality competition series has chosen Mexico as the next competition grounds for its 19th season, premiering Monday, May 13.  The luxurious, all-inclusive IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso and the accompanying Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Riviera Maya will serve as the backdrop for Big Break Mexico, providing the opportunity for the ultimate winner to compete alongside the game’s best on the LPGA Tour or the PGA TOUR.

Big Break is a cornerstone of our original series franchises, and it has proven to be a launching pad for many professional golfers looking to break through to the world’s top tours, including the likes of PGA TOUR pros Tommy Gainey and Matt Every and Solheim Cup veterans Ryann O’Toole and Kristy McPherson,” said Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon.  “Our ultimate goal with Big Break Mexico is to place our competitors in pressure situations on a world-class golf course, and we achieved this from the picturesque IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico.”

Big Break Mexico, produced in partnership with the Mexico Tourism Board, will feature a cast of six men and six women competing in a mixed team format in an attempt to make their lifelong dreams of playing alongside the world’s top golfers come true.  This season’s Big Break champion will receive an exemption to compete either on the LPGA Tour at the 2013 Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex and Jalisco or on the PGA TOUR at the 2013 OHL Classic at Mayakoba (both Nov. 14-17).

“Mexico Tourism is excited to bring Golf Channel’s Big Break series to Mexico for the first time and showcasing everything Mexico has to offer as an ideal vacation destination,” said Gerardo Llanes, Chief Marketing Officer for Mexico Tourism Board.  “We look forward to working with Golf Channel in featuring Mexico’s beautiful tourism experiences and vacation resorts, magnificent golf courses and also touting our signature professional golf tournaments on the LPGA and PGA TOUR.”

Big Break Mexico also will feature a guest appearance from former LPGA World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, who surprised the cast during the filming of the series and competed alongside the players in one of the challenges.  Following the challenge, Ochoa also was given the opportunity to participate in Big Break’s signature challenge for the first time – The Glass Break – where she shattered the glass on her first attempt.

“I love having Big Break in my home country of Mexico and am proud to offer an exemption to the Lorena Ochoa Invitational,” said Ochoa.  “Big Break is very popular, and I want to help the sport of golf in my country as much as I can.  This is a win-win situation for all of us.  It was great to meet all of the players and see how excited they are to be on Big Break.  I’m looking forward to watching the series this summer and see how I fared in front of all of the cameras.”

The series will unfold on the resort’s P.B. Dye designed 18-hole championship course – IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Golf Club – a par-72 layout featuring breathtaking signature holes and distinctive rock work that are signatures of a typical P.B Dye design.  Carved out of the ancient Mayan jungle, the IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Golf Club features narrow fairways, deep bunkers and extreme vertical movement, along with untraditional hazards such as a rock riverbed that make the course distinctively unique to the area.

“We are thrilled to be the host partner for Big Break Mexico.  Golf is an important growing segment for IBEROSTAR and Golf Channel’s audience aligns well with our target guest; therefore, it was a natural fit to partner with Big Break,” said Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for IBEROSTAR, John Long.  “It is our hope that Big Break Mexico will inspire travellers and golf enthusiasts to visit IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso and experience the luxurious amenities and services we have to offer guests.”

The Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  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, Tour and Canadian Tour.  Mark Silvers, Big Break Greenbrier champion, will compete in the 2013 Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR as a result of his victory in 2012.

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.  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 ( Tour) and Kim Welch, Nicole Smith, Gerina Piller, Kelly Jacques, 2011 Solheim Cup team member Ryann O’Toole and 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Kristy McPherson (LPGA Tour).

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Down seven pounds, Thomas can gain No. 1

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.

In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.

“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

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Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.

After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

“I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”

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Garnett's six-shot lead dwindles to two in Punta Cana

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 10:57 pm

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - Brice Garnett took a six-stroke lead into the wind Saturday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.

Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain for a 3-under 69 and a 16-under 200 total.

''Once we made the turn coming back, all those holes coming in toward the north, it was all we wanted and then some,'' Garnett said. ''I kind of took advantage of some holes going out, some holes downwind, some par 5s, and then we were just trying to leave it in the right spot those last four or five holes. Pars are pretty good scores on those holes.''

Canadian Corey Conners was second after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also had a 67 to get to 12 under. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped out Friday, finishing last in the 132-man field in his PGA Tour debut. He shot 77-82 playing as an amateur on a sponsor exemption.

A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, Garnett opened with a bogey, birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 6, eagled the par-5 seventh, and made two more birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 12th. He bogeyed the par-4 13th, par-5 15th and par-3 17th.

Full-field scores from the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

''I looked once and the lead was a little bigger than what it is now,'' Garnett said. ''The eagle was huge, kind of gave me that confidence that I can push it on out and stretch it a little bit more. That wind was tough and I'll take a two-shot lead into tomorrow.''

The 34-year-old Garnett is winless on the PGA Tour. He won twice last year on the Tour.

''You've got another 18 holes. So much can happen,'' Garnett said. ''Just going to try to keep the golf ball in front of me. I have that self-belief this week and that's what I had last year when I won, so I'll just keep my head down and just keep going.''

Conners had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added a birdie on No. 12.

''Really happy with the round,'' Conners said. ''I got off to a nice start, made a bunch of birdies on the front nine and kind of held it together on the back nine. It was playing really difficult. The wind was really blowing out there, made things challenging.''

McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, has played his last 39 holes with a bogey.

''Second shots have been pretty solid,'' McCumber said. ''Putting pretty well, short game is pretty good. Just really being in the right areas and staying below the hole.''

Tom Lovelady was fourth at 11 under after a 68. Seamus Power (71), Denny McCarthy (71) and Seungsu Han (72) were 10 under.

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Poulter incorrectly told he's in Masters before loss to Kisner

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 10:33 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Ian Poulter was not happy, and it was only partially because of his blowout loss to Kevin Kisner in Saturday’s quarterfinals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Following his morning victory in the round of 16 over Louis Oosthuizen, the Englishman was incorrectly informed that by making it to the Elite 8 at Austin Country Club he was assured enough Official World Golf Raking points to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters in two weeks.

“I should never listen to other people,” Poulter said following his 8-and-6 loss to Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals. “When you finish a round of golf and the press and everybody is telling you you're in the Masters, and then you get a text message 10 minutes before you tee off to correct everybody, to say, ‘Oh, we've made a mistake, actually, no, that was wrong, you're not in. You need to go and win.’

“Not that that's an excuse in any form or factor, it's a little disappointing.”

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Poulter actually needed to advance to the semifinal round to move into the top 50. Instead, his last chance to qualify for the Masters is to win next week’s Houston Open, although he was unsure if he’d play the event.

“I don't know yet, I haven't decided,” said Poulter when asked if he’d play next week. “I'm tired. It's been a long week. It's been a draining week. I'll wait until Monday night and if I have the energy then I will.”

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Not DJ, not Poulter: Kisner most proud to take down Kuchar

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 9:34 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On his way to this week’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner has beaten world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the European match play ninja Ian Poulter. But neither match could compare to his duel with Matt Kuchar early Saturday.

“I was more jacked to beat [Kuchar], really. Kuch is such a good player and our games are so similar,” said Kisner, who defeated Kuchar in the round of 16, 1 up. “We both made eight birdies this morning and I barely snuck out of there. I thought it was a lot of fun.”

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By comparison, his quarterfinal bout against Poulter wasn’t nearly as electric. Kisner won two of the first four holes when the Englishman made bogey (No. 3) and when he was conceded the fourth hole, hecruised to an 8-and-6 victory for the week’s most lopsided win.

“I don't know Ian that well, so I don't really have a history with him, other than watching him kill us in the Ryder Cup,” Kisner laughed.

Things won’t get any easier for Kisner on Sunday when he’ll play Alex Noren in the semifinals. The Swede has been dominant this week and is considered one of Europe’s top players heading into this year’s Ryder Cup.