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Knoxville man seeks 'Big Break' on Golf Channel reality show

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Posted at 10:01 PM, Jan 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-15 13:14:15-05

Knoxville’s Tyler Neff, 30, is trying to win a big break.

The aspiring professional golfer is one of 12 men competing on the Golf Channel’s “Big Break: The Palm Beaches,” which debuts at 9 p.m. Feb. 2 and gives its winner the opportunity to compete in a PGA tournament, as well as cash and prizes.

Neff is profiled in a Golf Channel video talking about his golfing dreams. In the video he says he’s been golfing professionally for six years and has “zero professional wins.”

The Knoxvillian’s quirky style is featured in the video – he proclaims, “I am who I am. I’m not weird, I’m limited edition” – and he’s seen on the job painting. He also landscapes, acts, models … “anything to make money … anything to put into the golf account.”

Neff is a graduate of Bearden High School, where he played golf, basketball and baseball. He went on to play golf for Cleveland State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His father, Bobby Neff, was a punter and placekicker at East Tennessee State University.

Neff now lives with his grandfather, Bob Sobolewski, who is also featured in the video. In a somber segment, Neff says, “I had to be here” to live with his grandfather after his grandmother, Bonnie Sue “Gaga” Sobolewski, died in September of 2012. Neff says that when his grandmother was dying he promised her, “I’m gonna wear pink for you every day.” And in every scene in the video, he’s wearing something pink – including one lone pink-painted fingernail when he’s clutching a golf club.

In another video promoting the show itself, the charismatic Neff is seen making quips. One of his fellow competitors calls Neff, “Captain America.”

This is the 23rd season of the Golf Channel’s reality show, which started in 2003. The winner receives $120,000 in cash and prizes and receives an exemption to play in the PGA’s 2015 Honda Classic.

Every season, the “Big Break” players are whittled down, week by week, weakest player by weakest player, until a champion is crowned.