New Match-Play Format for Men’s Open Championship Division to Feature a $250,000 Purse
Golf Channel and the Long Drivers of America (LDA) announced today that live coverage of the 2015 World Long Drive Championship – celebrating its 40th anniversary – will expand to two nights, airing the semifinals on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and the championship finals on Wednesday, Oct. 21, both in primetime
The 2015 World Long Drive Championship will take place Wednesday, Oct. 14-Wednesday, Oct. 21 at WinStar World Casino and Resort, located north of Dallas in Thackerville, Okla. Since 1975, the World Long Drive Championship has been held each year to crown the longest golfer on earth. The 2015 Championship also will introduce a new match-play format, with the men’s open championship division competing for the coveted World Long Drive Championship belt and a $250,000 purse.
“The mesmerizing drives these athletes hit make for incredible television. We look forward to showcasing one of the most exciting aspects of the game and telling the stories of these big hitters at the World Long Drive Championship in October,” said Tom Knapp, Golf Channel senior vice president of programming.
“Having the world’s largest casino host the longest hitters from across the globe will prove to be a fantastic partnership,” said Art Sellinger, LDA owner and chief executive officer. “I’m thrilled that the team at WinStar is taking so much pride in producing a world-class grid for our competitors as they will be featured two consecutive nights in primetime on Golf Channel.”
“Hosting this championship event is a natural way to expand the existing relationship between WinStar World Casino and Resort and LDA,” said Wayne McCormick, casino general manager. “This is the perfect opportunity to showcase WinStar’s golf facilities as well as our total entertainment experience to a high-caliber, national audience.”
Golf Channel’s expanded coverage of the World Long Drive Championship also will include news and highlights of the qualifying rounds, Oct. 14-19, leading up to the live coverage under the lights on Oct. 20 and 21 on the specially designed 475-yard long drive championship grid at WinStar Golf Course.
The World Long Drive Championship offers sports fans a chance to witness competitors who generate mammoth swing speeds of 150 mph and ball speeds of 220 mph. In comparison, the highest average swing speed on the PGA TOUR in 2014 was 123 mph, generated by Bubba Watson. Long Drive athletes train and prepare year-round for the chance to take a swing at becoming the World Long Drive Champion, through specialized training to generate maximum ball and swing speeds, and focusing solely on maximizing distance during competition. Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.), 2013 World Long Drive Champion, holds the record for the longest drive in championship history with a drive of 427 yards.
Jeff Flagg (Pelham, Ala.), a former first baseman with the New York Mets minor league organization who played collegiate baseball at Mississippi State University, captured the 2014 World Long Drive Championship title and the coveted championship belt by a mere 13 inches over professional golfer Jeff Crittenden (43, Greensboro, N.C.). When both competitors hit drives that measured 365 yards, Flagg’s 13 extra inches proved to be the shortest margin of victory in the history of the World Long Drive Championship.
Seven champions will be crowned at the 2015 World Long Drive Championship: open men and women’s, senior men’s (45+), super senior men’s (50+), grand champions men’s (55+), legends men’s (60+) and masters men’s (65+). The match-play format for the open division will run from the second round of qualifying (round of 64) through the championship final on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Registration opens Monday, Aug. 17 at www.LongDrivers.com.