Gamecock fans followed along this season as South Carolina alum Mark Silvers competed on The Golf Channel's "Big Break: Greenbrier" show. Silvers made it all the way through and won the competition, earning several great prizes including cash and a PGA TOUR exemption for the 2013 Greenbrier Classic. We caught up with him this week after the finale aired to talk about his experience.
Silvers sporting his Gamecock gear during the "Big Break" filming
BL: What was the experience like being on a reality show while competing for such a big prize?
MS: It was nuts. Obviously I haven't been on TV much before. To play for that amount of money and perks, it was an incredible experience...It took awhile to get used to all the cameras being around and that you're always mic'd up...You had to remember that someone can always see and hear you.
The show was filmed several months before it aired. How tough was it to keep it a secret that you won the competition before it aired?
That's the toughest part. Everybody's first question is always, 'well, did you win?' Obviously not only do I not want to ruin the show but there's a hefty penalty that comes along if you ruin the show for The Golf Channel. You have to develop a good poker face. It was hard to do anything without people looking into every move that you make.
You wore Carolina gear often on the show, what made you want to represent your alma mater in that way?
Well, that's where I really shaped my golf game. I owe so much of my development to the University of South Carolina and Coach [Bill] McDonald. I felt like that would be a good way to represent that.
What did it mean to you to have the support of Gamecock fans during the show?
It was great. The golf program at South Carolina has really come a long way. Anything to draw the fans together and draw the attention to the golf at South Carolina - it allowed me a great opportunity to help with that.
Do you get a chance to come back and visit much?
I do! I still work with Bill on my swing; he's still my coach. It's always a good excuse to come back to Columbia and get some lessons.
What are your favorite memories from your time at Carolina?
My first year at school was Spurrier's first year so getting to watch our football team grow into a national contender was an unbelievable experience. We won a bunch of golf tournaments in college. Being able to go to these amazing places and play all around the country and represent the University of South Carolina was something I take a lot of pride in and still try to do.
What are you most looking forward to about playing on the TOUR at Greenbrier this coming year?
The Greenbrier is an amazing place. Getting to play in a PGA TOUR event is a big deal and obviously I'm going there with good memories of the golf course. Knowing I'll have an opportunity to play a PGA TOUR event on a golf course I have good memories on is very exciting.
Do you think it will give you any advantage?
I'd like to think so! I don't have any bad memories or bad experiences so that's a good thing to carry over to such a big event.
Check out video of Mark's reaction after winning the show:
Congratulations again to Mark and GO GAMECOCKS!!!