GOLF CHANNEL'S "BIG BREAK" SERIES HEADS TO MEXICO FOR 19TH SEASON
Premiering Monday, May 13, Big Break Mexico to Feature Male/Female Cast at IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Resort & Spa
LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR Exemptions on the Line
Former LPGA World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa to Make Special Guest Appearance
ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2013) - Golf Channel's popular Big Break reality competition series has chosen Mexico as the next competition grounds for its 19th season, premiering Monday, May 13. The luxurious, all-inclusive IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso and the accompanying Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Riviera Maya will serve as the backdrop for Big Break Mexico,providing the opportunity for the ultimate winner to compete alongside the game's best on the LPGA Tour or the PGA TOUR.
"Big Break is a cornerstone of our original series franchises, and it has proven to be a launching pad for many professional golfers looking to break through to the world's top tours, including the likes of PGA TOUR pros Tommy Gainey and Matt Every and Solheim Cup veterans Ryann O'Toole and Kristy McPherson," said Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon. "Our ultimate goal with Big Break Mexico is to place our competitors in pressure situations on a world-class golf course, and we achieved this from the picturesque IBEROSTAR Playa Paraiso Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico."
Big Break Mexico, produced in partnership with the Mexico Tourism Board, will feature a cast of six men and six women competing in a mixed team format in an attempt to make their lifelong dreams of playing alongside the world's top golfers come true. This season's Big Break champion will receive 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).
"Mexico Tourism is excited to bring Golf Channel's Big Break series to Mexico for the first time and showcasing everything Mexico has to offer as an ideal vacation destination," said Gerardo Llanes, Chief Marketing Officer for Mexico Tourism Board. "We look forward to working with Golf Channel in featuring Mexico's beautiful tourism experiences and vacation resorts, magnificent golf courses and also touting our signature professional golf tournaments on the LPGA and PGA TOUR."
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.
"We are thrilled to be the host partner for Big Break Mexico. Golf is an important growing segment for IBEROSTAR and Golf Channel's audience aligns well with our target guest; therefore, it was a natural fit to partner with Big Break," said Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for IBEROSTAR, John Long. "It is our hope that Big Break Mexico will inspire travellers and golf enthusiasts to visit IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso and experience the luxurious amenities and services we have to offer guests."
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.