Premiering Monday, Feb. 2, Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL Features One of the Most Talented Casts in Series History, Including Collegiate All-Americans, Multiple Winners on Various Mini Tours, Trick Shot Experts and Iraq War Veteran/Amputee
Series’ 23rd Season to Showcase the Newly Renovated PGA National Resort & Spa Champion Course and the Famed ‘Bear Trap’
ORLANDO, Fla. – The cast for Golf Channel’s 23nd season of its popular Big Break reality competition series – Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL – was revealed today, featuring aspiring golfers hoping to take that next step in their professional golf careers. Twelve men will compete for more than $120,000 in cash and prizes on the series, including an exemption to the 2015 Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR. Taking place at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. – home to the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic and the famed Bear Trap – Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL premieres Monday, Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. ET.
Produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, Discover The Palm Beaches and PGA National, Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL features one of the most talented and diverse casts in series history. The cast includes several collegiate All-Americans, multiple-time winners on various mini tours and an Iraq War Veteran looking to become the first amputee golfer to compete on the PGA TOUR. A special “Meet the Players” show will air Monday, Jan. 26 at 10 p.m. ET.
The contestants are (current residence / hometown):
George Bryan (27, Chapin, S.C.) – Older brother of fellow competitor Wesley Bryan, George was a three-time All-American at the University of South Carolina and a teammate of Big Break Greenbrier champion Mark Silvers. George is currently competing on mini tours, and has gained popularity with his brother in posting trick shot videos online (BryanBrosGolf).
Wesley Bryan (24, Augusta Ga. / Chapin, S.C.) – Younger brother of fellow competitor George Bryan, Wesley played collegiate golf at the University of South Carolina and is currently competing on various mini tours.
Brandon Hartzell (27, Charleston, S.C. / St. Paul, Minn.) – Competing on mini tours and working as a caddie at Kiawah Island, Hartzell’s dream to play full time on a professional level has been curtailed by finances and a significant injury to his left hand following an automobile accident in 2010. He played collegiate golf at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., and turned professional following graduation in 2009.
Justin Martinson (26, Savannah, Ga. / Avondale, Pa.) – A graduate of the University of Delaware, Martinson was one of the most successful amateur golfers in Delaware history, recording multiple wins (two-time Delaware Open champion, Delaware Amateur and Philadelphia Amateur champion). An avid junior hockey player growing up, Martinson switched to golf in high school when his family moved to Pennsylvania from California. He recorded his first professional victory in 2011 when he won the Delaware Open and he added to this victory with several others including a win on the Swingthought.com Tour in 2014.
Clay Myers (24, Orlando, Fla. / Memphis, Tenn.) – A member of the four-time Southwestern Athletic Conference championship golf team at Jackson State University, Myers recorded multiple collegiate victories, highlighted by the 20012 individual conference championship title. In funding his golf career, Myers has participated in several Dick’s Sporting Goods commercials and Golf Galaxy catalogs, and also caddied for Cheyenne Woods in 2014.
Tyler Neff (30, Knoxville, Tenn.) – A recent newlywed (married in November), Tyler Neff played collegiately at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and turned professional immediately following graduation in 2008. He holds three course records in Tennessee and is competing full time on mini tours in 2015.
Chad Pfeifer (33, Scottsdale, Ariz.) – An Iraq war veteran who lost his left leg during the Iraq War, Pfeifer learned to play the game of golf while rehabbing in an Army hospital. Crediting golf as saving his life, his goal is to become the first amputee to compete on the PGA TOUR.
Zach Portemont (25, Birmingham, Ala.) –Growing up as a member of a family-owned traveling carnival, Portemont played limited junior golf. Through hard work and dedication, he earned a scholarship to Troy University, ultimately becoming team captain and one of the top players in the Sunbelt Conference. Following graduation in 2011, he has competed on the various mini tours throughout the Southeast.
Robert Rohanna (28, Naples, Fla. / Waynesburg, Pa.) – An Academic All-American from Penn State University, Rohanna grew up playing golf on his family course in Waynesburg, Pa. He earned conditional status on the Web.com Tour for 2015 and also will be competing on PGA TOUR LatinoAmerica.
Tommy Schaff (39, Savannah, Ga.) – The oldest and most experienced competitor on Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, Schaff has recorded 25 mini tour wins since turning professional in 2002, but finances and injuries have prevented him from reaching the next level.
Kyle Scott (28, Atlanta, Ga. / Johannesburg, South Africa) –Roommates with fellow competitor Richy Werenski at Georgia Tech, Scott is originally from South Africa and was a late bloomer to the game of golf, taking it up at age 17. Scott has conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2015.
Richy Werenski (23, Bluffton, S.C. / South Hadley, Mass.) – The youngest competitor on Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, Werenski turned professional immediately following graduation from Georgia Tech in May 2014, winning three of his first five professional events. Teammates with fellow competitor Kyle Scott at Georgia Tech, Werenski also holds three university records. His greatest accomplishment in golf is winning the 2012 Porter Cup and having his name engraved on the same trophy as Phil Mickelson.
MELANIE COLLINS RETURNS AS CO-HOST: Serving as co-hosts for Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL will be Tom Abbott and Melanie Collins. Collins made her Golf Channel debut as co-host for Big Break Florida, the series’ 21st season, in early 2014.
GRAND PRIZE: The competitors are playing for more than $120,000 in cash and prizes during the course of the series. In addition to the weekly challenge prizes on the series, The winner of Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL will receive more than $80,000 in cash and prizes, including:
An exemption to the 2015 Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR
$60,000 in cash, including $10,000 courtesy of Adams Golf.
An endorsement contract from Adams Golf.
$10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental.
$10,000 in travel credit courtesy of Travelocity.
A return, week-long trip for two to PGA National Resort & Spa, including Suite Accommodations, daily breakfast, select Spa services, daily golf and a Chef’s private dinner at Ironwood Steak & Seafood.
HOST GOLF COURSES: Filmed on location in September, the series will unfold on four of PGA National Resort & Spa’s award-winning golf courses, headlined by the famed Champion Course. Hall-of-Famer and acclaimed designer Jack Nicklaus redesigned the course in 1990, and then went through a renovation in 2014. A key part of the renovation was an adjustment to the design of No. 14 – the prelude to The Bear Trap (Holes 15-17) – which included bringing the green closer to the water on the right.
“The Champion Course is a thinking person’s golf course,” said Nicklaus. “You’ve got to figure out whether to attack the greens or whether to be conservative. That, to me, is what golf is all about. I’ve always put a premium on accuracy, rather than power. This golf course definitely has those elements, and I look forward to seeing those elements come into play.”
The Champion – Home to The Honda Classic, the Champion Course features The Bear Trap – a demanding stretch of holes (15-17) that is widely known as one of the toughest in golf.
The Palmer – Named after its designer, Arnold Palmer, the course is a subtle nod to the game's Scottish roots and is a true risk / reward layout. Its 18th is one of the most scenic and picturesque par 5s on the property.
The Fazio – A complete renovation of the resort’s Haig Course, The Fazio was modernized by Tom Fazio II and is a splendid shot maker’s design.
The Squire – Named after Gene Sarazen and designed by George and Tom Fazio, The Squire is a test of accuracy and precision and is the most exacting of the courses at PGA National.
SERIES FORMAT: Golf Channel’s Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness. During Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, competitors will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including two of the series’ signature challenges, the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall.” One contestant will be eliminated each week, with the last player standing awarded his Big Break, an opportunity to compete on the PGA TOUR.
For the past 22 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad for many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers, including PGA TOUR winners Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey and Matt Every, and U.S. Solheim Cup participants Kristy McPherson, Gerina Piller and Ryann O’Toole, all playing full time on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour, respectively. Several other past Big Break competitors will be competing on the world’s top tours in 2015, including Tony Finau (PGA TOUR), Mallory Blackwelder, Katy Harris, Sadena Parks and Jackie Stoelting (LPGA Tour), Sophie Sandolo (Ladies European Tour) and Rick Cochran, Hugo Leon, James Nitties, Justin Peters and Mark Silvers (Web.com Tour).
Become a fan of Big Break on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BigBreak
Follow Big Break on Twitter @BigBreak
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Golf Channel, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes and 83 countries worldwide. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, as well as a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s highest-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platforms, headed by GolfChannel.com, are the leading golf destinations on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Live Extra and select programming is simulcast via SiriusXM’s PGA TOUR Radio. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital services including Golf Channel Mobile; GolfNow, the world’s largest online booking platform; GolfAdvisor.com, a golf course ratings and review portal; the interactive Golf Channel Academy instructional app; and the Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.