Top 6 Golfers from The Big Break
Who are the best golfers to come out of the Golf Channel series The Big Break? Below, we rank the Top 6 Big Break alums. In doing so, we considered only what Big Break contestants accomplished after being on the show.
Every, from Big Break Mesquite, earned his first PGA Tour victory at the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational. That made him the second former Big Breaker to win on the PGA Tour (after Tommy Gainey).
And then Every repeated as Palmer champ at Bay Hill in 2015, making him the first two-time PGA Tour winner among alums of The Big Break. And making him No. 1 on our list.
At the time of his first Palmer win, it was Every’s third full season on the PGA Tour. He had previously had two second-place finishes and one third place and finished as high as 53rd on the FedEx points list.
But 2014 was his best year to that point – or since. Every had six Top 10s that year, finished 33rd on the money list and 45th on the Fed Ex Cup list. In 2015, despite repeating as API champ, Every dropped to 68th and 89th, respectively, on the money and points lists.
In the immediate aftermath of his time on Big Break Mesquite, Every was 34th on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2008, then won the Nationwide Tour Championship in 2009.
Tommy ‘Two Gloves’ Gainey
We saw Tommy Gainey twice on The Big Break, first in Season 4 and then as the winner on Big Break VII: Reunion. After the first one, and again after the second, Gainey showed flashes with wins on lower-level circuits and Monday qualifying successes. But since 2008, he’s been a member of either the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour.
Gainey was runner-up at the Disney in 2008, and he added three third-place PGA Tour finishes in 2011. His first PGA Tour victory happened at the 2012 McGladrey Classic, where he shot 60 in the final round to win.
Gainey’s PGA Tour performance slipped in 2013 and he slid outside the Top 125 on the money list, but his past champion status gave him a reprieve on falling off the tour. He did fall out of the big tour in 2014 and has played on the Web.com Tour since.
Tony Finau (along with his brother Gipper Finau) was on Big Break Disney Golf when he was 19 years old.
He joined the ranks of big-tour winners among Big Break alums by winning the Puerto Rico Open on the PGA Tour in 2016.
Finau played the Web.com Tour in 2014, winning once and earning promotion to the PGA Tour. As a PGA Tour rookie in 2015, he finished 40th in money and 43rd in FedEx Cup points.
She was known by her maiden name, Gerina Mendoza, when she appeared on Big Break Prince Edward Island, which aired in 2009. Piller played on the Futures Tour from 2008 through 2010, posting multiple Top 10 finishes with a best showing of second place.
She graduated to the LPGA Tour in 2011 on the strength of her 5th-place finish on the 2010 Futures Tour money list. And while Piller has yet to win on the LPGA, she’s been a very good player with many Top 10s and multiple runner-up finishes.
She’s cracked the Top 20 on the LPGA money list and the Top 25 in the world rankings. In 2015, Piller went 3-0-1 for Team USA at the Solheim Cup, including sinking what turned out to be the winning putt. Piller first played in the Solheim Cup in 2013.
Kristy McPherson was ousted in the third elimination of the season on Big Break VI: Trump National. She probably wasn’t too bummed out. By the time the show aired, McPherson had already finished fourth on the 2006 Futures Tour money list, earning her LPGA Tour membership for 2007.
McPherson was a steady LPGA player for years after. Since 2007, she posted three runner-up finishes and nearly 20 Top 10s. Her money list finishes, starting with 2007, were 97th, 47th, 16th, and 27th. She made the U.S. Solheim Cup team in 2009.
But her career slowed down after that. Her money list finishes in 2011 and 2012 fell outside the Top 50, and lower each season. By 2016, she’d lost her Tour card.
Nitties was a cast member in Season 8, a castmate of Every on Big Break Mesquite, which aired the same year Nitties won on the Von Nida Tour, Australia’s second-level circuit.
In 2009, Nitties played his way onto the PGA Tour and made 15 cuts in 27 starts, including two top 10s. He finished 88th on the money list with just under $1 million. In 2010, he made again made 15 cuts on the PGA Tour, but his money-list finish slipped to 134th and he lost his card.
He did win back home on the Australasian Tour in 2010 at the Victoria PGA Championship. In 2011, Nitties won on the Nationwide Tour, but despite that finished 26th on the money list – one place too low to regain his PGA Tour card. He’s played on the Web.com Tour since.