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Friday, May 21, 2010

Watch Out for the Big Breakers!

There are several big tournaments going on this week -- the PGA's HP Byron Nelson, the LPGA's new Sybase Match Play, and the ET's BMW PGA Championship. There are a couple of players I'd like to make sure you notice.

They're both alumni from TGC's Big Break show. They're two of the players who've "made good," and they're both doing well so far this week. Ironically, neither made it through the whole show!

James Nitties is one of them. He's only a couple of shots off the lead at the Nelson, and he seems to feel right at home in Texas... although it's a long way from Australia. I suspect Michael down at Aussie Golfer is glad to see him doing well also. Nitties is one of the guys who seems to understand just how lucky he is to be on Tour; I'm beginning to suspect that's one of the side effects of going through the Big Break. He's missed a lot of cuts this year, but seems to have things straightened out the last couple of weeks, so I'm hopeful. (He did have a T3 in Puerto Rico back in March.)

The other is Kristy McPherson, a SC girl who made it through the first round at the Sybase. (I have to keep track of her -- she's almost a hometown girl, since I'm from NC.) Kristy beat Meena Lee 3&2 in the first round. Admittedly, Lee hasn't been playing particularly well lately -- her best finish is a T29 at the HSBC in February. Still, don't write Kristy off yet; she came in ranked 18 in the field, and she not only has Solheim Cup experience, but that Big Break experience as well. Her last two tournaments were Top 20 finishes; I'm looking for her to do pretty well this week.

If you've never seen the show, what you should know is that players inevitably end up going through some high-pressure playoffs that are basically two- or three-hole match play. If you can handle that pressure, you should have a good chance of handling the pressures of match play or just playing the Tours.

Still, match play continues to drive us crazy, doesn't it? I really expected Se Ri Pak to play well this week, but she's already gone. Probably the biggest shock today was Brittany Lincicome's loss, followed by Juli Inkster's victory over Suzann Pettersen in 21 holes. (Not a surprise in some ways, given her experience, but Jules hasn't been playing particularly well lately.) Still, most of the big names survived, so it looks like it could be a good tournament.

Keep an eye out for the Big Breakers this week. It could get interesting!


  1. Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey had a very good finish last weekend on the Nationwide Tour. At one point, he was in a four way tie for the lead.

  2. Nitties lead the Byron Nelson after one round in 2009 as well and shot four rounds in the 60s but finished just outside the top 10.

    Interesting guy. Dad used to play backup guitar for AC/DC. PGA profile used to state his interests included "clubbing" and "girls".

    Jim Dauer

  3. Court... I think Gainey also made it through the first round of Open qualifying earlier this week. All that work on his short game seems to be paying off. At this rate, I suspect he'll make it back to the main tour next year.

    Jim... I saw the Big Break series that Nitties was in. He had some serious game even then, and I thought he might even win it. He really got nailed by the "match play" aspect of the show; he just had a bad day at the wrong time.

  4. Yes he did - puts him right there with the always dangerous Tony Romo ! :-)