I have been watching the Match Play Championships today on The Golf Channel, and just saw an ad for the Big Break. And at that moment, it occurred to me that the fix for that insipid show is right under TGC’s nose.
The problem for me has always been that the interpersonal drama that the producers of The Big Break so desperately want is completely absent in the current format. Because elimination is determined by individual skill challenges, there is no reason for any of the golfers to even talk TO each other, let alone talk about each other. They can love each other or hate each other, and it has no effect on the outcome. That’s why, to me, the entire production seems so contrived.
What they need to do is to restructure the Big Break as a series of team events—sort of like a mini Ryder Cup each week. They could base it all on nine holes, if they wanted to speed it up and keep production costs down. The golfers would (as with Survivor) be initially divided into two squads. And each week, the losing team would be forced to vote out one of its members. Presumably, the team would vote out its weakest link. But they might also vote out someone who simply irritates the others, regardless of skill.
And that’s where, finally, the interpersonal drama would have some meaning.
If the teams were uneven because of attrition, the larger team would have someone sit out. The same person couldn’t sit out twice.
The show would be made more interesting as the show highlighted the various types of golf games available: match, twosomes, scramble. They could even come up with some original ones.
Each week would begin, however, with a skills challenge. The winner would get a “mulligan” (immunity), regardless of whether he ultimately on the winning or losing team. That would create some additional interpersonal conflict. If a player already has the mulligan, and doesn’t play up to the team’s expectations, she’d be under a lot of fire from the others. Imagine the comments: “We would have won, but she already had a mulligan and didn’t earn her share of the points. She’s a quitter and I hate her.”
At some point, the teams would be small enough that they’d be merged. Then, the players would be reassigned in different (random) pairs each week. The winning pair would get immunity. The others would be on the chopping block.
Of course, every other week, there wold be an uneven number of players. In that case, the player with the Skills Challenge mulligan would sit out. She would be immune from expulsion anyway.
When down to the last three, it would become a straight match play event.