Given James' week-after-week consistency and Will's "box of chocolates" performance to date, I probably would have laughed and placed a bet right then and there against you.
But golf is a fickle game. One day you're on top of the leaderboard and the next, you've missed the cut.
I'm pleased I was able to catch up with Brian and Emily this week to talk about the last few episodes.
First up, the "Coop"...What you hear may surprise you.
Emily and Team Rice have really started to show some form in the past few weeks, especially with Isaac's most recent performances. They may have been the second team with a loss, but they don't look like losers now...
So we're 3 down with 2 to play. If I were a betting golfgal, I'd wager we'd see the Doleman/Rice teams in the final episode. WDYT?
I'm pleased to share Blue Falcon's analysis again on this week's show. Be curious to know if you agree with his comments and team ratings.
Big Break NFL Puerto Rico Episode #9
“Friends and Rivals”
Four teams are left in Big Break NFL Puerto Rico, but the philosophy from last episode remained the same. For Teams Brown, Rypien and Rice, paste a loss on Team Doleman. For Team Doleman, the goal was to continue the vein of strong play that has made them the target of resentment-golf related of course-by the other teams. How did things play out this week? Read on.
Immunity Challenge #1 required teams to reach the green from a designated disk on the fairway. The goal: hit the green from the farthest distance. The team that achieved this gained immunity.
But, they would not decide the distance to hit from. That would be decided by NBC “Football Night in America” analyst and bane to the existence of Tim Brown and Jerry Rice during their playing careers, Rodney Harrison. Harrison acquitted himself well, hitting the green with his first 5 shots and missing on the 6th, meaning that the challenge would be started from 125 yards.
Team Rice started the challenge, with Jerry making the first 3 distances-125, 140, and 155 yards. He missed from 170, but so did Emily and Isaac, giving Team Rice a 170 distance total.
Team Brown came next. Mallory missed the green from 125, leaving her teammates to pick up the slack. They somewhat did, with Tim making from 125, but he and Will missed from 140 yards. No immunity for Team Brown.
Team Rypien followed. Meghan hit from 125, but missed from 140 and her teammates, Mark and James, couldn’t improve on that.
Finally, Team Doleman had their turn at the challenge. Chris made from 125, but missed from 140. Shannon also missed from 140, leaving Brian to rescue his team. He proceeded to do exactly that, hitting from 140 and 155 but failed from 170, sending Team Doleman into a playoff with Team Rice for immunity.
The playoff was a nearest the hole competition from 155 yards. Isaac for Team Rice faced off vs. Brian from Team Doleman. When Isaac missed the green, it left the door open for Brian, and he closed it with a slam by hitting the green.
Team Doleman remains undefeated. However, it doesn’t look like that will gain them straight entrée to the finals. Based on the trailer for next week’s episode “All-Out Blitz”, it looks like Team Doleman will find themselves having to fight to make the final episode.
What their win also meant is, with the other three teams having 1 loss each, another team would be eliminated this episode.
Immunity Challenge #2 required teams to assign a player to hit a shot from one of three locations around a green. The aim: hit a shot inside a 8-foot circle. For each successful shot inside the circle, 1 point would be earned. The team with the highest point total would gain immunity. The two losers would face off in the Sudden Death Challenge.
Round #1-Mark, Will, and Jerry were the competitors. Mark and Will made their shots, Jerry did not. After one round, Teams Brown and Rypien had 1 point, Team Rice, 0.
Round #2-Meghan, Mallory and Isaac took their turns. The ladies failed to score, but Isaac made a bump-and-run to gain the first points for Team Rice. Through 2 locations, each team had 1 point.
Round #3-James, Tim and Emily were involved in the process. Only Emily made her shot, giving Team Rice immunity, and forcing Team Brown and Team Rypien to the Sudden Death challenge.
The Sudden Death challenge called upon the teams to play two holes of stroke play. On the first hole, two players from each team would play. Both players would hit a drive, choose the best drive and play the hole out from that spot, with both players’ scores counting. The second match would be a straight up one-on-one match. The team with the lowest score remains in the game, the loser is eliminated.
This Sudden Death match was a little personal for Team Brown, as Team Rypien dealt them the first loss of the season, so Team Brown was looking for a little payback. The first hole was a par-4 playing 300 yards for the women and 340 for the men. Team Brown sent up Mallory and Tim to face Meghan and Mark from Team Rypien. Mallory found the first cut of rough on the right with her tee while Meghan pull hooked her shot left. Both men found the fairway with their tee shots.
Unsurprisingly, Team Rypien took Mark’s shot to play out from, with the second shots coming from 112 yards. Meghan’s pull hook tendencies reared their ugly head again, while Mark found the green with his approach.
Team Brown chose Mallory’s shot from 87 yards to play from. Both players found the green but had long birdie putts. Meghan failed to reach the green with her chip for Team Rypien, then sailed her par putt long, giving Team Brown a decided advantage. Both Mallory and Tim made par for Team Brown, while Mark scored par, and Meghan tallied a bogey.
After 1 hole, the score was: Team Brown 8, Team Rypien, 9.
Hole #2 was a par 5 playing 517 yards. Will represented Team Brown, hoping to finish what his teammates started, while James tried to pull Team Rypien’s fat out of the fire.
Will’s tee shot hit the cart path and ended up in the right hazard. James, however, couldn’t take advantage, hitting an even worse tee shot into a nearly similar area. James took a drop for an unplayable lie and hit his third shot back into the fairway from 266 yards.
Will also chopped back into the fairway from 261 yards. From 131 yards, Will’s approach shot got caught in the wind and fell short of the green.
Once again, however, James couldn’t take advantage as his approach from 115 yards also came up short of the green.
The last part of the hole was a chipping contest as Will made a chip that had a chance to find the hole but rolled just a couple of feet past. James needed to hole out to keep Team Rypien alive, but couldn’t do so, and Team Rypien became the third team eliminated from Big Break NFL Puerto Rico.
And now, the grades...
Team Brown: On Big Break Ireland, Mallory Blackwelder earned the moniker “The Eliminator” for her proficiency at going into elimination/sudden death challenges and coming out the other side. She’s certainly adding to that reputation in this Big Break. In two cumulative seasons, Mallory is now 6-2 in elimination challenges. If I’m Teams Doleman and Rice, I’m not sure I want to face this team in the finals. Granted, their performance this week was a bit inconsistent, but they are in the top 3, and there are no style points for winning. Score: 7.
Team Doleman: Brian was this week’s star, making most of his shots and carrying his team to victory. I didn’t think I’d say this based on the first 5 or so episodes, but maybe Chris Doleman is a genius. Despite all the turmoil, they are still undefeated. True, some of that was helped along by other teams’ failures, but still, they’re undefeated. Again, no style points for winning. Score: 8.
Team Rice: Survive and advance. That is the story of this team. All three team members - Jerry Rice, Isaac Sanchez and Emily Watson Talley - contributed this week. Yes, there were bad shots, but those were more than made up for with good shots. Score: 8.
Team Rypien: To borrow a quote from Emily, this team was a hot mess this week. Mark played the best, which is damning with faint praise. James, I believe, simply wore down as Zakiya did last episode from carrying the team on his shoulders.
I try not to be overly critical when I write these blogs, but I seriously have to question Meghan Hardin’s future as a professional golfer. While she had flashes of good play, there weren’t many, if any, good shots in a row. It’s possible to trace that to her youth-she’s 21-but that argument doesn’t hold much water with the likes of Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson, both of whom are younger than Meghan, playing and winning on the LPGA Tour. Meghan can make a living as a “celebrity”, playing pro-ams and the like, but nothing I saw on either season of Big Break gave me any reason to believe that she is a future LPGA Tour player. Sad to say, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Score: 3.
So what will next week bring? Can Team Doleman run the table? Can Mallory remain The Eliminator? Will Team Rice carry their team chemistry all the way to the final? Those questions, and many more, will likely be answered next week.
Until next week, I remain…