CU Alum Emily Talley Wins Big Break

“This feels like the Super Bowl to me right now, I’m going to be honest with you.”

So said NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice after Emily Talley, his teammate on the Golf Channel’s Big Break NFL Puerto Rico, sank a one-foot putt on the East Course at Dorado Beach Resort to win the competition’s grand prize. 

Talley, an All-American who in 2012 led the University of Colorado to the NCAA finals for the first time in school history, teamed with Rice and Isaac Sanchez to defeat a three-person team led by Hall of Fame linebacker Chris Doleman.

Like Sanchez and the other non-NFL participants, Talley had also appeared in a previous version of Big Break, but lasted only two episodes. To participate in Puerto Rico, she took a break from her season on the Symetra Tour—formerly the LPGA Futures Tour—and did it ever pay off.

For her victory, the 23-year-old Napa native received $50,000 in cash, a sponsor exemption to the 2014 ShopRite LPGA Classic on the LPGA Tour; an endorsement contract from Adams Golf, (including $10,000 in cash); and a four-day, three-night stay for two at Puerto Rico’s Dorado Beach Plantation Village. 

Talley also earned the admiration of Rice. “Not only are these two great golfers,” he said of her and Sanchez, “but great individuals.”

And what did Talley think of playing with the NFL’s greatest receiver? “He said I threw a tighter spiral than Steve Young did,” she said with a laugh.

“He was always in the moment and he wanted to do his part, play well and be part of something great,” she said. “He had such a great respect for Isaac and he wanted to help him succeed in any way. You saw this great side of the most decorated athlete out there. That was really humbling, to see somebody who has accomplished so much that still wanted to give back and help others. He helped both of us, that was awesome.”

Talley hosted a watch party at Boulder’s Fate Brewery when the show aired December 17. The competition had ended in June and she was bound to secrecy for six months.

“This was a tough secret to keep, especially with Jerry Rice and Isaac, but it was a fun secret to keep,” she said. “A lot of people tried to get it out of me. People would say ‘Congrats!’ and I would say ‘About what?’ and I could tell they were seeing if I’d slip up.”

A clutch player like Talley slip up? Give us a break—and make it a big one.

Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.comJon Rizzi is the founding editor and co-owner of this regional golf-related media company producing magazines, web content, tournaments, events and the Golf Passport.