What Ever Happened to Danielle Amiee of 'The Big Break'?

Danielle Amiee of Big Break III Ladies Only

Remember Danielle Amiee? If you were ever a fan of the Golf Channel series The Big Break you probably do. Amiee was the season champion on Big Break III: Ladies Only, the first Big Break series to feature women in the cast.

She was a controversial figure for viewers, polarizing for fans. She was either the villain of Big Break III, or was just the contestant unlucky enough to be portrayed that way.

After the series ended, her presence in two LPGA Tour events generated a lot of attention, and more controversy. After that, Amiee seemed to disappear.

But in 2019, Danielle Amiee re-emerged, on golf courses in Florida, in state golf association tournaments, and even played her way into a USGA championship. So let's take a look back at Amiee's time in the spotlight, and also at the golf she is playing more recently.

Amiee Before 'Big Break'

Before her star turn on the Golf Channel in 2005, Amiee had been a college golfer and then a mini-tour and Futures Tour golfer. She played college golf at Long Beach State University in the late 1990s, with average scores in the mid-80s.

But this golfer who hadn't picked up the game until age 16 continued working and improving. By 1999, Amiee was shooting in the 70s and decided to turn pro. From 2000 through 2004, she played nearly 30 tournaments on the Futures Tour, the LPGA developmental circuit, with a high of 14 tournaments in 2000. She made eight cuts in those years, with a low round of 71.

Amiee's Polarizing 'Big Break' Championship

Amiee had a big personality, big blonde hair, and big ... well, you get the picture. She was surely attention-grabbing during her Big Break audition in 2004, and Golf Channel producers rightly surmised she would grab plenty of attention on the television series.

On Big Break III: Ladies Only, Amiee was portrayed as scatter-brained, bossy, cocky. She was "Barbi" to some, a blonde bombshell to others, and something else starting with a "b" to others. What she never was was boring. Her castmates were shown on the series mocking her behind her back and talking bad about her to the cameras.

Was that a fair portrayal? I've seen comments from caddies who worked with her on the Futures Tour that Amiee was a nice, sweet person. Maybe a little ditzy at times, but nothing like the divisive personality she appeared to be on The Big Break (affiliate link).

I've also heard from sources who were involved in that season of the show that Amiee's quirks and foibles were greatly exaggerated by the editing — as was her castmates' seemingly negative reaction to her. In a 2005 interview that appeared on the Futures Tour website, Amiee said, "How did I draw the shortest straw to become the villain? The editing made me look so cocky. It was disturbing, but it was good drama."

However, a cast member on the show told me something very different. This player said Amiee and the other golfers' reactions to her were exactly as portrayed: "The show was exactly what happened — very accurate." So even today, Amiee remains polarizing among those who were involved in the series.

Big Break III: Ladies Only aired in 2005, and Amiee emerged as the champion, defeating Pamela Crikelair in the championship match.

(Related: What ever happened to Pamela Crikelair?)

Her LPGA Appearances, More Controversy, and Disappearance

For winning Big Break III, Amiee earned exemptions into the field at the 2005 LPGA Kingsmill Championship and 2005 LPGA Corning Classic. At Kingsmill, her presence drew much attention. She played a practice round with Natalie Gulbis, who said nice things about her.

In the tournament, Amiee shot rounds of 79 and 77 and missed the cut. Not great, of course, but probably better than her detractors were expecting.

Alas, there was more controversy. Just before the tournament the gathered media received word of a topless photo circulating the internet, a photo alleged to be of Amiee. Whether it was or not was never firmly established; Amiee viewed the photo at the media's request, then declined to discuss it.

When the Corning Classic arrived, Amiee showed up on site and began preparing. But she was again bombarded with questions about the photo and about her portrayal on Big Break III. Prior to the first round, claiming a bad back, Amiee gave up that second exemption and withdrew from the tournament.

And she really wasn't seen by the public for years afterward.

Following her withdrawal from her second LPGA exemption, the Golf Channel seemed to drop Danielle like a hot potato. It was as if she was persona non grata at the network — until the promos began for Big Break VII: Reunion. The first promos implied that Amiee would be one of the cast members on that show (she wasn't).

Then the first episode led off with host Vince Cellini implying that Danielle was about to walk out as a surprise guest. Turned out it was just a joke at Amiee's expense, because the cast members were shown "dreading" the possibility.

The Golf Channel had (in one interpretation) turned Amiee into a villain through editing that created a possibly mistaken portrait of her, then, later, piled on to the anti-Danielle sentiment they helped create by mocking her on a later edition of The Big Break.

Danielle Amiee's Return to Tournament Golf

For more than a dozen years after her 2005 experiences on the Golf Channel and the LPGA Tour, Danielle Amiee disappeared from public view. She was out there living her life, somewhere — she was said to be living in Las Vegas for a time — but she gave up tournament golf, and a public life, completely.

Until 2019, when Amiee, then 43 years old, returned to the tournament golf scene. By that time she was living in Florida, and she began entering Florida State Golf Association (FSGA) tournaments. Which, of course, means that somewhere along the line Amiee applied to the USGA for, and received, a return of her amateur status.

In May 2019, Amiee finished eighth in the FSGA Women's Mid-Amateur Championship. She entered three one-day tournaments in May and June, finishing second in two of them and winning the other. She qualified for and made the cut in the Florida Women's Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the Florida Women's Open. Her scores? There were some 80s, but there was also a low of 70 — better than Amiee had ever scored back when she was trying to play the Futures Tour. Clearly she kept her game in shape during all those years out of the public eye. (And she let her blond hair go black.)

In August, Amiee entered a qualifier for a USGA national championship, the U.S. Women's Mid Amateur Championship, and played her way into the tournament. And in September, she played in that tournament, but failed to advance out of stroke-play qualifying and into the match-play draw.

Her season culminated in the 2019 Women's Florida Cup, a Solheim Cup-style tournament between teams representing the South and the North. Amiee was chosen for the South Team, played three matches and won two of them, including a singles victory.

In a foursomes victory, Amiee partnered Meghan Stasi to victory. If you are partnering Stasi, then you are someone respected by your peers. Stasi is a four-time U.S. Women's Mid-Am champ, an eight-time Florida Amateur Player of the Year award winner.

So whatever Amiee went through back in 2005 and in the publicly missing decade after, she (and her game) appears to be in a very good place today.

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