Vincent Johnson to Appear on Golf Channel's 'Big Break'

Sept. 24, 2009

Orlando, Florida -


Courtesy of the Golf Channel


Portland, Ore. resident Vincent Johnson will compete in GOLF CHANNEL’s 12th season of the popular Big Break series. Premiering Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. PDT, Big Break Disney Golf will showcase a field of 12 males; collectively the most talented cast in series history, but individually at different stages in their careers battling for the opportunity to fulfill the desire to play professional golf at the highest level.


            Johnson received national attention in 2009 when he became the first recipient of the Charlie Sifford Exemption, an honor that enabled him to play in the PGA TOUR’s Northern Trust Open. Although he missed the cut by three shots, the experience convinced him that he has the talent to compete on TOUR.


“I ended up missing the cut, so as a competitor, I don’t want to have all of these congratulations when I miss the cut,” remembers Johnson. “All in all, I had a screwy rules infraction happen, and up until that point, I was a few under par. If I had made a couple more birdies, I was actually on the outskirts of being in contention, which is actually pretty wild.”


While at Oregon State University, Johnson was captain of the golf team and overcame Graves’ disease in 2007 to win the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship by 12 strokes, one of his 68 amateur victories.


“All of the symptoms of Graves’ disease are just about as bad as you can get for an athlete – increased heart rate that makes exercising pretty much impossible, your attention span makes it hard to focus, and golf is the ultimate focus game, and muscle weakness—so I lost 20-30 yards off of my drives,” said Johnson. “To have parts of my game taken away was almost as big of a mental leap as it was physical because you’re losing your ability. You know what you used to be able to do, and now you can’t. It was tough because I was working harder than ever, and I was not competing. I played in every tournament my first two years, and that fall, I couldn’t make the traveling squad. It was very difficult.”


Shot mainly at both the Magnolia and Palm Courses at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., the winner of Big Break Disney Golf will receive an exemption to compete in the 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Classic. The series marks the first time that a Big Break winner will compete in a TOUR event on the same course in which the series was filmed.


To earn the exemption and prizes, in the 10-week series the champion will have to defeat highly skilled golfers in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.


Utilizing the unique venue, Big Break Disney Golf’s challenges also will take place at various locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, including Main Street U.S.A., Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex and the Walt Disney World Speedway. Intertwined into several episodes will be cameos by PGA TOUR players and memorable moments from the Children’s Miracle Network Classic. 


            Joining Johnson in Big Break Disney Golf are:


Andrew Giuliani (New York, N.Y.) – Son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Donna Hanover, Andrew is looking to make a name for himself in the game of golf.


Ed Moses (Hollywood, Calif.) – A gold and silver medal winner as a member of the United States swim team at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Moses’ goal is now the PGA TOUR. A member at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla., he once shot 64 on the course that hosts the TOUR’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.


Gipper Finau (Lehl, Utah) – Blessed with the long ball, Gipper, who turned professional at 16, once drove a 520-yard par 5.  Joins Tony as the first brother duo to play in the same Big Break series


Tony Finau (Lehl, Utah) – Hits the tee ball longer than his brother – or at least that is what he says in the spirit of sibling rivalry. Finau turned professional when he was 17 and made a cut on the PGA TOUR the same year.


Andreas Huber (Scottsdale, Ariz.) – Actress Susan Lucci’s son, the former Wall Street broker left the color of money to seek his fortune on the green.


Mike Perez (Scottsdale, Ariz.) – After playing the Nationwide Tour, Perez is looking for the chance to join brother Pat on the PGA TOUR.


J.R. Reyes (Omaha, Neb.) – With tattoos covering each arm, Reyes is not your typical golfer. While not looking the part, he has the talent to fit in on the PGA TOUR.


Kevan Maxwell (Charleston, S.C.) – Aspiring golf professional by day, pizza delivery man by night, “K-Max” will do whatever it takes to play on the PGA TOUR.


Kevin Erdman (Arcadia, Calif.) – Husband of Big Break Kaanapali alum Courtney Erdman, is it his time to shine on the Big Break stage?


Blake Moore (Monrovia, Calif.) – Friend of former Big Break competitor and PGA TOUR rookie James Nitties, Moore is a threat to win Big Break Disney Golf if he can control his inner demons.


Sean Kalin (Delray Beach, Fla.) – A junior standout who gave up golf for 20 years after being kidnapped, he is looking for a second chance in the game.


GOLF CHANNEL’s Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks will reprise their roles as co-hosts to add insight to the series.

Past Big Break champions won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, such as the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Nationwide Tour and Canadian Tour. Former Big Breakers Tommy Gainey and Nitties compete on the PGA TOUR in 2009 while four previous female contestants currently play on the LPGA Tour, including Kristy McPherson, a member of the 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team.


For more information, please contact Mark Mitchell at 407-355-4063, or









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