Article Courtesy of Duramed FUTURES Tour Photos by Mark Ashman / Golf Channel
Third-year professional Carling Coffing of Middletown, Ohio defeated fellow Duramed FUTURES Tour member Lili Alvarez of Durango, Mexico 1 up to win the Golf Channel's "Big Break Sandals Resorts" show.
The final match was a close dual between the two Tour members to the end, when Coffing drained a pair of clutch putts to close out the 18 holes of match play for this year's "Big Break" title.
Here's what Coffing had to say to Duramed FUTURES Tour senior writer Lisa D. Mickey about her "Big Break" experience:
DFT: How does it feel to be the newest "Big Break" champion?
COFFING: I'm on top of the world. I think this is truly a "Big Break" for me.
DFT: What has the response been to your win?
COFFING: I cannot believe the response. So far, I've had 400 "Friend" requests on Facebook, 785 emails, phone calls and media requests. Instead of using that $5,000 in the prize package to go to LPGA Q-School, maybe I need to use it to hire a personal assistant! Laugter Seriously though, the majority of my messages are from people telling me about their "birdie dances" or from other diabetics telling me the names for their insulin pumps. I said on the show that my insulin pump's name is "Hank the Panc," since the pump is like my mechanical pancreas [because of her diabetes]. I'm not the only person who has a name for her pump.
DFT: Are you surprised at the response?
COFFING: I have been diabetic for 19 years and I've had the Medtronic insulin pump for two years. Because of this show, a lot of people saw me and could relate to me. It feels really good to be an inspiration to other diabetics. Being diabetic is a daily struggle. You can never take a day off, and sometimes it can be very overwhelming. Getting these messages from people is a reminder to me that I'm not alone in the fight against this disease.
DFT: How did so many people find you?
COFFING: They saw the show, stalked me on Facebook and sent me messages about their insulin pumps and how they manage their diabetes.
DFT: Has winning this show changed your life in any way?
COFFING: I've wanted to be an LPGA star since I was a little girl. After this experience, I feel like I'm one step closer to that goal. It has also made me look forward to future opportunities in front of the television camera.
DFT: So does this experience make you want to pursue a future more in golf or in TV?
COFFING: My goal is to be the No. 1 golfer in the world and then to be the No. 1 sports broadcaster in the world.
DFT: How does the experience of the "Big Break" fit into your golf career?
COFFING: The "Big Break" was perfect timing for me. I made it to the final stage of LPGA Q-School last year. I had a book of drills that my dad created for me and I practiced those drills every day. At the final LPGA Q-School, I missed getting my LPGA status by three strokes. I think it was a blessing in disguise because I went from Q-School back to practicing and getting ready for the 2010 season, and then the filming for the show took place in February. So now, we're at the end of the 2010 Duramed FUTURES Tour season, the "Big Break" is over and now I hope to earn my LPGA card at Q-School this fall.
DFT: How nervous were you in that final match against fellow Duramed FUTURES Tour member Lili Alvarez?
COFFING: I tried not to have any expectations. I had the shaky-hands syndrome, for sure, but making it into the final match was wonderful. My feeling about the whole experience was, win or lose, it was going to be a successful journey. Lili even gave me some pep talks during the weeks when the show was being filmed. She probably regrets that now, but when we shook hands on the 18th hole, she said, "Great job. You deserve it." That really meant a lot to me.
DFT: How good was your competition on this show?
COFFING: The competition was stiff. Just about everybody on the show plays on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. I've been playing against Sara Brown since junior golf and I know that her game is always hot. I was worried that Taryn Durham could squash me at any time. Ryann O'Toole hits the ball about 575 yards off the tee, and Seema Sadekar's Canadian scoring average is like, 62.5! Laugter When I showed up for the filming of the "Big Break and looked around, I recognized everybody. I was like, "Wow! They're really bringing it this year on the Big Break!" Was I concerned? Absolutely! I only brought two pairs of golf shoes with me because I wasn't sure how long I was going to last. If I had brought 15 pairs and only lasted one episode, it would have been devastating. So that's why you saw the same shoes over and over again on the show. Laugter
DFT: Do you always putt like that? Some of the putts you made were ridiculously long.
COFFING: My short game is absolutely my strength. I'm a total hack, but I love to drain long putts. Putting is one of the best parts of my game. Using my dad's drill book all winter really paid off for me around the time that "Big Break" was filmed in February. At first, I hated that book. The putting part of the drills takes about 2½ hours to complete, but I guess it's what I needed.
DFT: OK Carling, what's with your "birdie dance?" I can see where it might irk some of your fellow competitors.
COFFING: Laugter Like Sara Brown said in the show, "We saw it in junior golf; we saw it in college golf; we see it on the urame FUTURES Tour and now, it's on the ‘Big Break.'" I've been doing my birdie dance since I was in junior golf. I used to play matches against my two older brothers and my dad and we would trash talk. If I made a birdie against them, I would do it. I don't do it on every birdie, but sometimes, I just give a little shake. And sometimes, I'll dance for somebody else's birdie. Now when I play on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, fans say, "Do the dance!" It's just a funny thing to lighten the mood and have some fun with the game. Golf is serious enough.
DFT: Is there something you have learned and that viewers don't realize about the "Big Break?"
COFFING: I had no idea it was going to be so much work. We got up at 4:30 a.m. every day, had breakfast by 6 a.m., and were out on the course by 7:30 a.m. They would film all day, we'd have lunch, do interviews and then do the "confessional," and then we would go to bed around midnight. When there became fewer players remaining on the show [following eliminations], we got in bed around 11:15 p.m. We were up and at it for 15 hours a day for 12 days. It was pretty grueling, but you're also kind of running on adrenalin.
DFT: How much time do you actually spend in that house hanging out with Paul, the butler?
COFFING: We didn't spend any time in that house! It was fun sharing rooms with other players. And if you won the day's first challenge, the best part of winning that immunity was getting to take a nap. You could sneak in a nap for 25 minutes. I love a power nap!
DFT: Was it hard to manage your diabetes with that kind of schedule?
COFFING: It was difficult because you only find out the day's activities five minutes before you go do them. I had a hard time planning my day, not knowing if we would be doing a lot of walking or other activities. When your blood sugar is up and down, you get very emotional, and I struggled a little in the third episode. Paul the butler helped a lot. He gave me a diabetic lunch every day and I'd take it with me. All of the food there was pretty exotic, so the less complicated the food is, the easier it is to process if you are diabetic. All I wanted was grilled chicken on whole-wheat toast. I had so much grilled chicken and whole-wheat toast that I'm not sure I can have any more for a while.
DFT: So, what do you take away from the "Big Break" that you can use in the future?
COFFING: I made a lot of great friends while I was on that show. And I proved to myself that I can make it under pressure and that I can make it as a professional golfer.
Topics: Press Release