Dwyer beaten in 'Big Break IV' final
For the sake of the children, let's hope Bri Vega brings her own caddie to February's SBS Open at Turtle Bay.
Vega beat out Kailua's Bridget Dwyer to win the women's portion of "Big Break VI: Trump National." The Golf Channel's reality series was filmed in July but did not run its course on TV until last week, with the nine female participants cut by one each week.
After weeks of hitting golf shots through glass, over and around walls, pitching to greens for points and assorted other imaginative competitions, Dwyer and Vega, from Massachusetts, played the final round for all the golf marbles: Exemptions into the LPGA's SBS Open (Feb. 15 to 17) and Longs Drugs Challenge and waived entry fees for the 2007 Duramed Futures Tour.
The score was 3 and 1, Vega winning with birdie at the 17th. They were even after 14.
One of the final's most memorable moments came when Dwyer asked Vega, who was walking on the green, to pull the flag for her so she could chip. Cameras caught Vega steaming and cut to a later interview where she admitted she was unhappy with the simple request. "I'm not her (expletive) caddie," were Vega's words.
"I couldn't believe it," said Dwyer, who never saw the final show until it first aired Dec. 12. "I was wondering what her parents thought when they saw it. She must be so embarrassed. ... Obviously, she was dealing with some issues. Her attitude on the course is a little extreme. Hopefully, she learned a lot from watching it. It's a growing process I guess."
And it was for Dwyer, too. The Punahou graduate and member of UCLA's 2004 NCAA Championship team has no regrets.
"All in all, I really didn't lose anything by doing the show and I did gain a tremendous amount from it, being in front of all these cameras," said Dwyer, who was filmed by as many as 15 TGC cameras during the show. "I learned a lot about myself in high-pressure situations, about my nerves. I can perform even though I'm nervous.
"It created a situation you couldn't pay anyone to create."
Dwyer is home for the holidays. She plans to go to Los Angeles next month to work with her swing coach, then return to the Futures Tour in March.
"I'm a little fired up to get back out there and practice a little harder," said Dwyer, who was 64th on the money list this year.
Dwyer would love to give Vega some company at the SBS Open, or find a way into the Fields Open in Hawai'i the following week at Ko Olina. It would take an exemption because Futures players are not allowed to try and qualify for LPGA events.
"I really, really want it very badly," Dwyer said. "I'd definitely come back if I can get in."
Denny Hepler beat Jeff Mitchell in the final of the men's Big Break, which featured nine senior players. Hepler earned exemptions into the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship and Bank of America Championship.
SONY QUALIFIER MONDAY
Sixty golfers will play off for three slots in the 2007 Sony Open in Hawai'i at a qualifier Monday at Waialae Country Club.
A field of 48 Aloha Section PGA pros will be playing for two spots, with a third going to Aloha Section PGA Player of the Year Kevin Hayashi. The year's top 12 amateurs are also playing for a spot, which was captured by Brandan Kop a year ago.
Last year, 1990 Hawaiian Open champion David Ishii and Beau Yokomoto earned the two available spots with rounds of 1-under-par 71. Hayashi, the 2005 Aloha Section PGA Player of the Year, earned the third spot.
Golfers go out from 7 a.m. Monday. Ishii, one of the Japan PGA's career money leaders, is playing with the Champions Tour's Dave Eichelberger, an Oahu Country Club member. They start at 8:30 a.m.
Kop goes out at 9:50 a.m. with Moanalua High School sophomore Tadd Fujikawa, who became the youngest to qualify for the U.S. Open this year.
The Aloha Section PGA will also run the Open Qualifier for the 2007 Sony Open in Hawai'i, Jan. 8 at Makaha Resort. It is limited to the first 50 non-PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour members, with four spots available. The Monday Qualifier will include a field of 50 players along with any PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour members not directly exempt into the Sony Open.
GOLF HAWAI'I ON TAP
The 12th season of Golf Hawai'i will premier Monday at 1:30 p.m. on The Golf Channel. Kapalua's Mark Rolfing, an NBC golf analyst, hosts the 30-minute golf magazine.
The season premier will feature Po'ipu Bay Resort and an interview with Jim Furyk at this year's PGA Grand Slam.
The show's format includes exclusive interviews, tours of Hawai'i resorts, Rolfing's outlook and updates on current events in the game, and other special features. Eleven new shows will air each week through March.
The premier will be re-broadcast at 7 p.m., and will re-air Dec. 20 at 8:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., and Dec. 23 at 8 a.m.
For more information, visit www.golfhawaii.com.
Rolfing will also be part of The Golf Channel broadcast team for the 2007 Champions Tour season. He will be the host for the season-opening MasterCard Championship at Hualalai, Jan. 19 to 21 from the Big Island, and the following week's Turtle Bay Championship from O'ahu's North Shore.
As a part of Golf Channel's agreement with the PGA Tour, the network will be the exclusive cable television home of the Champions Tour through 2021. Next year, it will provide all rounds of 22 Champions Tour events and early round coverage of four other tournaments.
MERCEDES TICKET SALE
Discount admission tickets for the 2007 Mercedes-Benz Championship, Jan. 4 to 7 at Kapalua's Plantation Course, will be on sale through Dec. 24.
The PGA Tour's season-opening event features the winners of this year's tournaments, with Tiger Woods, Stuart Appleby, Geoff Ogilvy, David Toms, Adam Scott, Jim Furyk and Dean Wilson among those expected to play.
A season ticket good for the entire week (Jan. 1 to 7) will be $55 if purchased before Christmas. Two-day practice round passes (Jan. 1 and 2) or a Pro-Am (Jan. 3) ticket will cost $15. Daily tournament tickets are $15 for Thursday or Friday and $20 Saturday or Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased online at kapalua.com or by calling 866-669-2440.
CONFERENCE COMING UP
The public is invited to attend the 2007 Aloha Section PGA Golf Conference, presented by the Aloha Section PGA and the Aloha Section PGA Foundation. The conference will be Jan. 9, or the Tuesday of Sony Open in Hawai'i Week. It runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Hawai'i Prince Hotel. Cost is $30, which includes continental breakfast.
Purpose of the conference is to bring together the public, members and business leaders from the golf industry, and partner industries of hotel and resort operations and development, tourism, advertising and sales and marketing, in a collaborative effort to help grow the game and provide a positive impact to the community.
The conference mission is to report on the current "State of the Game" and address the future in a strategic manner, with an emphasis on accelerating growth and participation, and creating stronger partnerships with allied industries to help promote that growth.
Featured speakers include Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, PGA Tour Senior Vice President Ric Clarson and tour member Dean Wilson of Kane'ohe, whose topic will be "From Hawai'i Junior Golf to the PGA Tour."
This year's conference will also benefit the newly formed Aloha Section PGA Foundation, which is a non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) foundation formed to promote interest, participation and enjoyment in the game of golf and to preserve the history of the game in Hawai'i.
This is the fifth biennial golf conference held by the section. Registration forms are available at aloha.pga.com or by contacting the section at 593-2230 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Entry deadline is Jan. 4.
FIVE GET TRAVEL GRANTS
Five golfers received a total of $4,000 in travel grants from the Hawai'i State Women's Golf Foundation this year. The grants are part of the Lily K. Yao Fund, and are based on merit, golf aspiration and need.
Lori Planos and Mari Chun each received two $600 grants. Planos qualified for the U.S. Golf Association's Women's Mid-Amateur and Public Links national championships. Chun also qualified for Public Links and the Women's Amateur.
Kelly Nakashima received a $600 scholarship for Public Links. Cyd Okino (Public Links) and Kyung Kim (Junior Girls) received $500 scholarships.
Princeville's Prince Golf Course is featured in the 2007 Sports Illustrated Scenic Golf Courses calendar. In addition to the eighth hole of the Prince Course, the wall calendar also features holes from St. Andrews and The Olympic Club Cliffs.
The Prince Course is also featured in the new Tiger Woods PGA Tour '07 video game. Produced by Electronic Arts (EA), the game allows a player to have a simulated round with Woods at a dozen different courses around the world, including Princeville, St. Andrews, Bandon Dunes, Firestone and Spyglass Hill.
The game is designed for use on Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation2, PlayStation3 or PSP game consoles.
Princeville Golf Courses are also offering a holiday gift certificate that allows a kama'aina foursome to play a round for the price of three people. The foursome certificate for the Prince Course is $210, a savings of $70; the certificate for the Makai Course is $150, a savings of $50.
Certificates are valid only for a kama'aina foursome playing together, and proof of residency (a Hawai'i driver's license) must be shown by all players on the day of play. Certificates must be used by Jan. 31.
For more information, call the Prince Golf Shop (808-826-5001) or the Makai Golf Shop (808-826-3581) or go to www.princeville.com.