Friday, September 16, 2011

History of Golf Channel's Big Break Series Featured Sunday on NBC

Golf's Big Break reveals series' greatest moments, biggest heartbreaks and success stories

(ORLANDO, Fla.) - Golf Channel's Big Break, which a has launched the careers of golf professionals Tommy Gainey, Kristy McPherson and Ryann O'Toole, among others, is airing a 30-minute special, Golf's Big Break, this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC. It marks the first time that a Golf Channel original program will air on NBC.

Eight years ago, Golf Channel entered the reality television genre with Big Break, where aspiring professional golfers compete against each other in an attempt to make their lifelong dreams of playing alongside the world's top golfers a reality.

Fifteen seasons later, Big Break has turned into one of television's longest-running reality series, consistently generating more viewers for any programming on Golf Channel outside of live tournaments. Golf's Big Break will be a half-hour special looking back at the history of the franchise and highlighting several of the series' biggest names who have used to the series as a springboard to kick start or revive their professional golf careers. Golf's Big Break also will premiere Sunday on Golf Channel at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Often labeled as golf's version of Survivor, Big Break features contestants competing in a variety of skills challenges from tee-to-green, with one contestant eliminated during each episode until a surviving champion is crowned. Past winners of Big Break have earned tournament exemptions to compete on the world's top professional golf tours, including the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, Champions Tour, Ladies European Tour, Nationwide Tour and Canadian Tour. In recent seasons, Big Break champions also have been awarded cash prizes, including the largest cash prize in series history in 2009 on Big Break Prince Edward Island, when Derek Gillespie was awarded $100,000.

Golf's Big Break will feature several past competitors, including some of the series most loved - and hated - competitors: Don Donatello (Big Break II), who wore his emotions on his sleeve more than any competitor in the history of the series; Brian Skatell (Big Break Prince Edward Island and Big Break Dominican Republic), who's sound bytes often overshadowed his golf game, and Robbie Biershenk (Big Break Indian Wells), a southern gentleman who's hilarious one liners won the hearts of fans worldwide.

The special also will feature several of the series' past champions and eliminated competitors who, in a literal sense, received the "Big Break" they needed to start their professional golf careers. Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, winner of Big Break VII:Reunion, is now competing full time on the PGA TOUR; Kristy McPherson, eliminated third on Big Break VI: Trump National, used her experience on Big Break to launch her LPGA career and was a member of the successful U.S. Solheim Cup Team in 2009; and Ryann O'Toole, the fifth competitor eliminated on Big Break Sandals Resorts, is a rookie on the LPGA Tour this year and was recently named as a Captain's Pick for the 2011 U.S. Solhiem Cup Team.

Closing out the special will be a sneak peek at Big Break Ireland, Golf Channel's 16th season of the popular series that will premiere Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. ET. Six men and six women will compete as teams for the most valuable prize in the history of the series - two tournament exemptions and more than $80,000 in cash and prizes.


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