I am really excited about watching "The Big Break II." It is going to be a very exciting atmosphere this year in Las Vegas. I have a feeling that these guys are in for a surprise. I know they are probably expecting it to be a lot easier than it really is.
I am sure when they all meet for the first time everybody will be best friends. When that first elimination round comes up, you will probably be able to hear a pin drop. I am sure there will be some gamesmanship and everybody might decide to pick on one guy.
The experience is amazing. I have people ask me all the time if the friendships were genuine on the show. Even though you are there for a short time, it feels like months. When you are around people in a stressful situation, there is a tendency to bond faster.
I have a feeling these guys are going to be having a little more fun than we did in "Big Break I." Being in Las Vegas, I am sure some guys are going to venture out and get into a little trouble. If we ventured out, we would have gotten attacked by bears.
The experience for these guys when filming the show probably went by too fast. For the winner of the show, the excitement will only last for about a week after the filming and then it is back to reality.
When everybody leaves and goes home after filming the show, there will be an emotional letdown for everyone. Some guys will be kicking themselves because they wished they had done better. The guys who finished at the top will feel the letdown because the excitement is over and there is nobody to celebrate with, since we are not allowed to reveal the results of the show.
I had to wait almost six months before I could celebrate my victory. I was still caddying full time when the show was airing. I had to sharpen my skills at avoiding answering the questions. Everybody would ask me, "Did you win?" I fooled so many people. I answered the questions like a pro and nobody could tell how I did. I think that made the show more enjoyable for the people close to me.
The emotional roller coaster for these guys is amazing right now. Things settled down after filming and their lives went back to normal, but everything starts to change when The Golf Channel begins showing the commercials for the show. This is the exciting part because people start to recognize you.
When the show begins airing, the "Big Break II" guys are going to feel like they are on top of the world. They will have people recognizing them at malls, gas stations, restaurants, and, of course, golf courses. Their lives will change in an instant.
The questions will grow as the weeks go on. The hype will build and everyone will want to know who is eliminated next. With the prizes being greater this year, I think the interest will be even higher. I hope the winner takes full advantage of his opportunities as soon as possible.
I am in a little bit of shock a year later. I have no regrets and the experience was great, but I thought it was going to be like a lottery ticket. I really thought my Big Break would be that some company or group of people would come forward and decide to sponsor me for three years so I could pursue golf full time. I thought I was going to have to turn down opportunities.
Unfortunately, the phone hasn't been ringing off the hook. I was very lucky to be asked to jump on board with Ping. Ping has been very supportive. Also, I was so fortunate to meet (PGA Tour pro) Woody Austin. He amazingly helped me out financially for about four months until the owner of the tour I was playing took off with everybody's money. I had finished 13th and 6th in the last two tournaments and the tour owner owed me about $9,000. He is gone and I will never see the money.
A year after winning "The Big Break," I am going to be working at a car dealership full time. Hopefully I will get another opportunity to play golf full time someday. It is tough to prove yourself in only about five months. I made a lot of cuts in that time and had a few good finishes, but I need full sponsors to be able to do things the right way and give myself the best chance of making it.
My advice to the winner of "The Big Break II" is to strike while the iron is hot and try to solidify some sponsors as soon as possible. He will have a huge opportunity. He could make his year in one tournament. Winning a Nationwide Tour event will give you status for two years and enough money to cover you for a year. Winning a Canadian tour event gives you enough money to cover you for about 2-3 months.
I am excited to watch for the new challenges and I hope the winner takes full advantage of his "Big Break."