I received a detailed comment from one of my readers, BlueFalcon on my last Big Break DR post. It was too big to fit into the little comment box, so I am happy BlueFalcon agreed to be a guest blogger on golfgal.ca once again.
BlueFalcon always provides terrific commentary, as you may remember from his post in Sept when we kicked off the series. And even if you don’t agree with everything he says (just like you may not always agree with me ;)), you have to admit…he’s passionate about golf and the Big Break!
Frankly, I think he nailed it!
Another “Big Break” season is in the books and it was definitely exciting, coming down to the last match and the last hole, but in the end, the ladies-as I predicted earlier, I have to brag a little bit-emerged victorious. The men fought valiantly, but in the end, came up just a little bit short. Here now are my thumbnail thoughts on each of the players and their performances this season, starting with the men:
Andrew Giuliani: Mea Culpa # 1. I admit that when I saw his name on the show, I was definitely biased against him. Andrew is the son of former NYC Mayor and National Senate candidiate Rudy Giuliani, and it would be fair to say that the elder Giuliani’s and my politics aren’t always on the same page. Fair or unfair, I held that against Andrew at the start of this season.
However, Andrew really impressed me this season. Even though he didn’t win MVP for the men-Anthony Rodriguez did, Andrew impressed me the most among the men with both his game and his demeanor. He was very supportive of his teammates and was a huge surprise to me. Good job, Andrew.
David Mobley, aka “Captain Bench”: Mea Culpa #2. I ripped on David in my preview, and now I am not ashamed to admit that I was wrong about him. I compared him to Fred Flinstone in my preview but now I’m going to compare him to another 60’s TV character, Bret Maverick. He is, to borrow a title of a country song by Tracy Lawrence, from the the movie version of “Maverick”, a Renegade, Rebel and Rogue, but a good one. David was a jerk at times-as was everyone on the show this season-but I understand now that a lot of what he does is for entertainment value and not out of malice. So I apologize, David.
Blake Moore: Blake really didn’t do anything to stand out to me. He was just kind of there. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I didn’t see anything really standout from him.
Anthony Rodriguez: A-Rod was the men’s MVP. He was also the second biggest jerk among the guys, coming across to me as an insecure, needy child at times. However, to his credit, he did win a match against Christina when he was seriously ill and went on to win the Men’s MVP, and the exemption into the 2011 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. While the announcement that A-Rod got the exemption was a little contrived-I get the feeling that the MVP of the losing team would have gotten their gender’s respective tournament exemption anyway-the genuine emotion Anthony showed upon learning that he would get to play in his first PGA Tour event in 14 years moved even someone as jaded and unmovable as I am. I did choke up along with A-Rod, and that doesn’t happen very often.
Brian Arnold Jack Tiger Skatell-I’m being sarcastic of course about the middle names. This segment can only be described as Total BS. No one-maybe ever in “Big Break” history-has talked bigger and produced smaller than Brian. I still don’t know if he truly believes that he’s God’s gift to golf, which is the way he talks about himself. The only positive was his “romance” with Elena, which was not suprising-she’s hot!-but the two most insecure, needy, attention-seeking people on the show finding love? Not sure how long that will last.
William “Football” Thompson-My favorite among the guys. Football reminds me a lot of former Big Breaker Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey. William just comes across as such a good guy, the kind of person you want to have a beer with-in my case it would be orange juice as I haven’t had a drink in over 30 years-and he’s definitely got game. I really hope he makes his golf dreams come true.
And now, on to the victors, the Ladies!
Lori Atsedes-Mea Culpa #3. I ripped Lori up one side and down the other after her actions on Big Break Ka’annapali, but I saw a completely different Lori in the Dominican. Whether it was her looking at herself and deciding to not act that way again or some other reason, Lori was impressive from start to finish this season, both on and off the course. “Grandma”-her expression not mine-stood out in particular for two shots. During the increasing length challenge, when players had to hit shots further than the preceding shot, when Lori’s turn in the rotation came up, she had to hit her shot farther than 104 yards. She did. Lori hit her shot 104 yards…and three inches, which helped propel the ladies to a win in that challenge. And then, in episode 9, Lori hit the Shot of the Series, which, had she not, the ladies might not have gone on to win it all.
In episode 2, co-host Stephanie Sparks made the announcement which got everyone excited. The goal this season was to put two strikes on players on the opposing team, thereby permanently benching them for the series; although they would remain on the show, they would not hit any more shots if they accumulated two strikes-a gimmick taken from “Highway 13”. If a player holed out from off the green, they would earn a Strike Eraser, allowing them to take a strike away from a player of their choosing, even themselves. In episode 9, Lori had a 104 yard shot-If I were Lori, I’d be playing the numbers 104 every day in the lottery for the rest of my life-and lo and behold, she dropped a dime. The only Strike Eraser in the show changed the complexion of the game, although the decision on who to bring back wasn’t without controversy-more on that later. Without Lori’s Strike Eraser, I don’t think the ladies would have won this season. So, kudos to you, Lori, and I apologize for what I said about you earlier.
Sara Brown-One of my all time favorite Big Breakers, she is so freaking adorable-I don’t know many 20 something year old women that want to be called adorable-but she is in addtion to being hot-yes, that matters to me a great deal. Sara’s definitely got game in many ways, and now that her love of golf is coming back to her, it’s starting to pay off. I believe I read on a blog that she has made it through preliminary qualifying school on the LET, and she’s got a big week coming up on this side of the Atlantic-more on that later.
Christina “The Human Rain Delay” Lecuyer-She may be the slowest golfer I’ve seen in quite a while, but give her credit for the shot which clinched the victory for the ladies this season; quite an accomplishment considering that Christina isn’t playing competitive golf right now. Whether she plays competivively again or not, Christina will always have her match win over Blake as a high point of her golf career. Way to go, Christina!
Brenda McLarnon-Mea Culpa #4. I ripped on Brenda earlier too. Now, I owe our Wild Irish Rose an apology. Brenda didn’t play particularly well while she was in the series-she isn’t playing competitive golf anymore-but she was more impressive without a club in her hand for the class, grace and selflessness she displayed in supporting her teammates to victory. Sadly, not everyone displayed those same traits.
Blair O’Neal-Overall winner, Big Break Dominican Republic. Memo to Golf Channel, SIGN THIS WOMAN!!!!!!!!! And Sara and Carling Coffing as well. I don’t care what it’s for, whether it’s kissing Tiger’s butt like everyone else there does or reading a laundry list. There’s plenty of dead wood at GC that can be jettisoned to make room for this Diamond.
Blair is the total package. She’s hot! She can play, she’s well spoken, in short, she is an asset that GC needs to get and keep. Although depending on what happens this week, she may have bigger fish to fry and may not need her exemption into the 2011 Kia Classic – more on that later.
Elena Robles-Elena is an enigma to me. On the positive side, she’s hot! And from tee to green, she’s decent at golf. However, once again, her putter let her down in a head to head matchup-with Kelly Sheehan on BBSR and in the Dominican against Andrew and later against A-Rod and Football. That, however, is the least of Elena’s issues.
The bigger issue, to me, with Elena, is her occasionally petulant attitude. She pouted earlier when she wasn’t selected to be in a challenge, then became Insane Drama Queen when Sara was selected to be brought back into the game as opposed to herself. While I do appreciate her competitive nature and her desire to play, the fact is that if I were in Lori’s position, I would have made the exact same decision. Even more damning to Elena’s position is the fact that Brenda was benched before and was on the bench longer, yet she didn’t clamor to be reinstated. Brenda was thinking about what was best for the team; Elena was thinking about what was best for her. I do give Elena credit for working out the differences with her team later, but the fact that the incidents took place at all is cause for concern to me.
And now to what I’ve been hinting at. This week, 147 ladies are desending on Daytona Beach, Florida to play in the LPGA’s Final Qualifying Tournament, aka Q-School. Six have ties to Big Break-Sara Brown, Blair O’Neal, Seema Sadekar (Big Break Sandals Resorts), Briana Vega (Big Break Trump National and Big Break Reunion), and Kim Welch (Big Break Ka’annapali) are trying to gain LPGA status next season. A sixth, Ryann O’ Toole (Big Break Sandals Resorts), has partial status for 2011 via finishing inside the top 10 on the LPGA Futures Tour money list and is trying to improve her standing in Daytona.
(An aside: Gerina Mendoza from BBPEI will become the second female Big Breaker to play full time next year on the LPGA as she finished inside the top 5 on the LFT this past season (the 1st was Kristy McPherson from Big Break Trump National)).
Overall, it was a fun season, and of course I’m happy for the ladies winning. The only drawback to me was the large amount of trash-talking and poor sportsmanship which took place on both the men’s and women’s teams. It’s a sad sign of the times and unfortunately one which I don’t see changing anytime soon. It’s sad to me that the genteel game of golf is being affected by that disease.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Since the next Big Break is all male, I won’t be watching-I never watch men’s golf at any level-but the next all female or unisex Big Break, you’ll definitely hear from me. Thank you, Gayle, for providing a forum for me to express my small thoughts at large. Please add your comments or suggestions. Until next time, I am in the wind.