CAST REVEALED FOR GOLF CHANNEL'S "BIG BREAK MEXICO"
12 Professional Golfers - Six Men and Six Women - to Compete in a Mixed Team Format at IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Golf and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico
Series Premieres Monday, May 13 at 9 p.m. ET
LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR Exemptions on the Line
Former LPGA World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa to Make Special Guest Appearance
Big Break Mexico Website: Big Break Mexico Showpage
Video: Big Break Cast Announcement on Morning Drive: Big Break Mexico Cast Announcement
ORLANDO, Fla. (April 2, 2013) - The cast for the next season of Golf Channel's popular Big Break reality competition series was revealed today, featuring 12 professional golfers ready to realize their lifelong dreams of playing on either the LPGA Tour or the PGA TOUR. Big Break Mexico, the series' 19th season, premieres Monday, May 13 at 9 p.m. ET.
Produced in partnership with the Mexico Tourism Board and filmed at IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Golf and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico, Big Break Mexico will feature a cast of six men and six women competing in a mixed team format. They will compete in various golf-related skills challenges, with the ultimate winner receiving his or her Big Break - an exemption to compete either on the LPGA Tour at the 2013 Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex and Jalisco or on the PGA TOUR at the 2013 OHL Classic at Mayakoba (both Nov. 14-17), cash and other prizes.
The contestants are:
Lindsey Bergeon (26, Sarasota, Fla.) - A professional since graduating from Florida Southern College in 2008, Bergeon has competed full-time on the Symetra Tour, Cactus Tour and CN Canadian Women's Tour the past four years. She holds numerous high school golf records from Sarasota, including being named Sarasota Herald Tribune Women's Golfer of the Year three times, a feat no other local female golfer has yet achieved. In 2013, Bergeon will compete on the CN Canadian Women's Tour and Women's State Opens throughout the country.
Taylor Collins (23, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) - One of the younger competitors on Big Break Mexico, Collins is currently in her sophomore season on the Symetra Tour, following an up-and-down rookie season that was highlighted by a fourth place finish in her third event. Collins is a long-time student under Hall-of-Fame instructor Bob Toski, who first met Collins when she was in elementary school and gave Collins her first set of lessons.
Matthew Galloway (27, Tampa, Fla.) - Former caddie for two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen, Galloway has competed on various mini tours all over the country during the past five years. A three-time Division II All American from the University of West Florida, Galloway is returning to the mini-tour circuit full time in 2013 with the experience, insight and guidance from walking the fairways on the PGA TOUR with Janzen and the game's best players.
McKenzie Jackson (24, Scottsdale, Ariz. / Uniontown, Ohio) - Playing in her second full season as a professional, Jackson is competing on the Cactus Tour, CN Canadian Women's Tour and Women's State Opens with a fresh outlook on golf after a frustrating 2012 season that included a break from the game at the end of the year. A graduate of Kent State University - her assistant golf coach was Big Break III: Ladies Only competitor Jan Dowling - Jackson received the phone call that she was cast on Big Break Mexico two days after she began refocusing on her game after an extended break. "My dad always tells me, 'Good things happen to good people," said Jackson.
Stefanie Kenoyer (24, Lighthouse Point, Fla.) - The lone contestant on Big Break Mexico to have competed in a major championship - 2009 U.S. Women's Open - Kenoyer is playing full time on the Symetra Tour with a refreshed sense of confidence and passion following a disappointing 2012. Sara Lynn Sargent - her former college coach and competitor on Big Break VI: Trump National - encouraged Kenoyer to apply for Big Break. Kenoyer will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Sargent, who earned her LPGA Tour card the following season after being on Big Break.
Liebelei Lawrence (29, Nideranven, Luxembourg / Nashville, Tenn.) - The first female from Luxembourg to compete on the Ladies European Tour (2011 and 2012), Lawrence credits her renewed passion for golf as a result of being cast on Big Break Mexico. She lost her status on the LET after the 2012 season and battled back injuries the entire season, causing her to consider hanging up her professional career. She enters Big Break Mexico finally healthy and with a refreshed outlook on the game.
Brent Long (26, Dallas, Texas / Carthage, Tenn.) - One of the more accomplished and talented players on Big Break Mexico, Long competed in 11 Web.com Tour events in 2011, including eight via Monday qualifiers. The first alternate on Big Break Greenbrier in 2012, Long had almost given up on the idea of competing on Big Break after multiple tries. One of the longer hitters on the series, Long is competing full time on the NGA Tour and select Web.com Tour events in 2013. His source of inspiration on and off the golf course is PGA TOUR Pro Kenny Perry, a family friend.
Chad Schulze (34, Cockeysville, Md. / Lebanon, Pa.) - A career that has featured a number of false starts on and off the course, Schulze is returning to competitive golf in 2013 after a few years on the business side of golf as a PGA of America Apprentice. A member of Pennsylvania's Millersville University Hall of Fame, where was a Division II All American, Schulze is competing on Big Break because he - like all of his fellow competitors - needs that extra push to make it to golf's highest stage.
Jason Seymour (36, Los Angeles, Calif.) - Seymour is returning to competitive golf full time for the first time in nine years, following a motorcycle accident that almost claimed his life. He hung up the golf clubs and turned to a successful construction business. Growing up in suburban Los Angeles, golf provided him a way out of "the bad things that surrounded me" and he has dreams of giving back to the game that has meant so much to him. He also is competing on Big Break Mexico with a heavy heart. His father, who introduced him to golf at an early age, passed away three weeks prior to the filming of the series.
Emily Talley (22, Boulder, Colo. / Napa, Calif.) - The youngest competitor on Big Break Mexico, Talley is one of two contestants on the series to have played in an LPGA Tour event - the 2012 CN Canadian Women's Open via a Monday Qualifier. A graduate of the University of Colorado where she was an Honorable Mention All American - the first female golfer from CU to earn All-American status - she turned professional after graduation in 2012. She is competing full time on the Symetra Tour in 2013.
Rob West (41, Peoria, Ariz.) - The oldest competitor on Big Break Mexico, West is returning to competitive golf after a 10-year hiatus to work in the construction business and raise a family. A multiple winner on the various mini-tour circuits in the 1990s, West is giving professional golf one final push.
Jay Woodson (31, Richmond, Va.) - One of seven players in history to win both the Virginia State Amateur (2002, 2003) and the Virginia State Open (2012), Woodson has been competing on the mini tours for the past nine years. He endured an eight-year drought between professional wins in full-field events prior to capturing the Virginia State Open July of last year. Married and expecting his first child in June, Woodson is competing on the NGA Tour in 2013 with a renewed sense of passion and confidence.
Golf Channel's Tom Abbott and Stephanie Sparks return as co-hosts for the series.
Big Break Mexico also will feature a guest appearance from former LPGA World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, who surprised the cast during the filming of the series and competed alongside the players in one of the challenges. Following the challenge, Ochoa also was given the opportunity to participate in Big Break's signature challenge for the first time - The Glass Break - where she shattered the glass on her first attempt.
"I love having Big Break in my home country of Mexico and am proud to offer an exemption to the Lorena Ochoa Invitational," said Ochoa. "Big Break is very popular, and I want to help the sport of golf in my country as much as I can. This is a win-win situation for all of us. It was great to meet all of the players and see how excited they are to be on Big Break. I'm looking forward to watching the series this summer and see how I fared in front of all of the cameras."
The series will unfold on the resort's P.B. Dye-designed, 18-hole championship course - IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Golf Club - a par-72 layout featuring breathtaking signature holes and distinctive rock work that are signatures of a typical P.B Dye design. Carved out of the ancient Mayan jungle, the IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Golf Club features narrow fairways, deep bunkers and extreme vertical movement, along with untraditional hazards, such as a rock riverbed that make the course distinctively unique to the area.
The Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness. Past Big Break champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world's top professional circuits, including the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Canadian Tour. Mark Silvers, Big Break Greenbrier champion, will compete in the 2013 Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR as a result of his victory in 2012.
Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, Big Break VII: Reunion champion and PGA TOUR professional, captured his first PGA TOUR victory in 2012 at The McGladrey Classic and is playing full-time on the PGA TOUR. Several other past Big Break competitors are currently competing on the world's top tours, including Matt Every (PGA TOUR), James Nitties and Mark Silvers (Web.com Tour) and Kim Welch, Nicole Smith, Gerina Piller, Kelly Jacques, 2011 Solheim Cup team member Ryann O'Toole and 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Kristy McPherson (LPGA Tour).
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About Golf Channel
As the fastest-growing network on television, Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. The Golf Channel cable network, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes worldwide through cable, satellite and wireless companies. As part of the NBC Sports Group, professional golf coverage on NBC is branded "Golf Channel on NBC," further extending the Golf Channel brand to NBC's broadcast audiences. Exclusive partnerships with the world's top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, added to a programming schedule distinguished by golf's best news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel's digital platform of businesses is led by www.GolfChannel.com, a leading golf destination on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that help the recreational player with how to play, what to play and where to play golf.
About Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico's tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB functions as an executive agency of Mexico's Tourism Secretariat, with autonomous management and the broad participation of the private sector. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
About IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts
IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is a family-owned Spanish hospitality company with more than 50 years of experience in the travel industry. IBEROSTAR provides unique vacation experiences, rooted in superior customer service and quality, in the world's most popular vacation destinations. With more than 100 hotels in 16 countries, IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is committed to offering excellence in quality and service and providing personal attention to each guest.
For more information, please visit iberostar.com.