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HOT CORNER

A consumer’s guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, heard, observed, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it’s in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.

What: “The Big Break.”

Where: The Golf Channel, tonight, 6 and 8:30.

The “Survivor” craze comes to the Golf Channel as a 10-week reality series, “The Big Break,” which makes it debut tonight. It could be called “ ‘Survivor’ for Golfers.” Ten golfers from around the country get together for a competition that will produce one survivor.

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The prize is an exemption into four 2004 Canadian Tour events, which will be televised by the Golf Channel. The dream for the contestants is: “This could launch my pro career.”

In the first episode, the contestants fly to Michigan and are bused to the Treetops Resort in Gaylord near the top of the state’s lower peninsula.

These “Survivor” contestants have it pretty easy. For one thing, they don’t have to eat bugs. For another, they stay in deluxe accommodations. Golf Digest named Treetops No. 32 on its list of top 75 U.S. golf resorts.

The golfers, all male of various ages and backgrounds, have one thing in common: They are all scratch or near-scratch golfers. The old man of the group is Garrett Garland, 56, of Northridge. He played college golf at Arizona State and Colorado.

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In the first episode, viewers meet the contestants and are also introduced to fitness guru and co-host Katherine Roberts. The other host, noted golf instructor Rick Smith, becomes more prominent in later episodes.

The contestants have no idea what the competition entails. They discover that the first contest consists of breaking a small pane of glass with a knockdown shot. The second is hitting a golf ball down a country road at a target 400 yards away.

Because no one gets eliminated in the first episode, the atmosphere is light and friendly. That figures to change.

-- Larry Stewart

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