Long Drive Returning to Familiar Venue in Partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada; Will Feature Women’s Division Being Showcased Live for First Time
The World Long Drive Association (WLDA) will stage the first of three live television events in 2017 with the ‘Clash in the Canyon,” airing Tuesday, June 6 in primetime on Golf Channel at 8 p.m. ET. The new event is in partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada and will be staged June 3-6 at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex, culminating in the television portion that will feature the four competitors having advanced in the Women’s Division, along with the eight remaining competitors in the Open (Men’s) Division. The event will mark the first time ever that the Women’s Division will air live on television.
A familiar setting in the Long Drive community, Mesquite previously hosted the World Long Drive Championship and a number of qualifying events dating back to 1997, including the World Championship having been staged at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex from 2008-2012.
The Clash in the Canyon will feature a 32-man field competing in the Open Division based on the World Long Drive rankings, which will include nine of the top-10 in the current rankings, along with a Women’s Division field of 16 competitors. The Open Division will compete for a $50,000 purse, with a first place prize of $20,000, while the Women’s Division will be vying for a $7,000 first place prize with a $15,000 overall purse. Ben Tuanone (Wells Fargo Advisory Endless Summer Invitational), Tim Burke (East Coast Classic) and Landon Gentry (WinStar Midwest Slam) have won the first three sanctioned Open Division events to-date on the 2017 WLDA season heading into the Clash in the Canyon. Winners in each Division (or the highest finisher not previously qualified) will earn a spot in the field at the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship later this year.
OPEN DIVISION FIELD (# Signifies Current World Ranking): Will Hogue (1), Tim Burke (2), Trent Scruggs (3), Tommy Hug (5), Justin James (T-6), Ryan Reisbeck (T-6), Paul Howell (8), Landon Gentry (9), Maurice Allen (T-10), Ryan Steenberg (T-10), Justin Moose (12), Jeremy Easterly (T-13), Jeff Flagg (T-13), Jason Eslinger (T-15), Kevin Shook (T-15), Jeff Crittenden (17), Glenn Wilson Jr. (19), Troy Teal (21), Jeff Gavin (22), Mike Dobbyn (24), Brady Torbitt (25), Patrick Hopper (T-26), Mitch Dobbyn (T-26), Steve Monroe (T-28), Ryan Winther (T-28), Dan McIntosh (31), Ben Tuaone (33), Kody Zurek (35), Jim Waldron (T-36), Stan Ramsey (40), Spencer McDaniel (T-41), Rob Tiettmeyer (43).
WOMEN’S DIVISION FIELD: Phillis Meti, Chloe Garner, Sandra Carlborg, Heather Manfredda (LeMaster), Lee Brandon, Alex Phillips, Kaycee Kennedy, Troy Mullins, Lisa Vlooswyk, Michelle Sheptak, Debbie Peever, Serena McGannon, Cory Ann Pond, Megan Thornes, Corey Phillips, Haley Vandenberg.
FORMAT: The Open Division field of 32 will be divided into two groups of 16, competing in a round-robin format where they will accrue points, with the top eight in each group advancing to a 16-man, double-elimination bracket. From there, the top eight will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals bracket which will play out during the telecast. The Women’s Division field of 16 also will utilize a points format that will decide the top eight advancing to the quarterfinals, and winners of the quarterfinal matches will advance to take part in the semifinals, airing live during the telecast.
COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Clash in the Canyon will air in primetime from 8-10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 6, with Golf Centralpreviewing and recapping the event (7-8 p.m. ET, 10-10:30 p.m. ET). In addition, Golf Channel will air an encore telecast of the 2016 World Long Drive Championship, featuring the Round of 16 (3-5 p.m. ET) and Finals (5-7 p.m. ET) leading into the live Golf Central at 7 p.m. ET.
The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as a crane-positioned camera that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by Long Drive competitors, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Top Tracer technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracking drives from the moment of impact.
Morning Drive and Golf Central will prepare viewers for the Clash in the Canyon through interviews and dedicated segments with competitors on the driving range in Mesquite, in addition to airing player profiles and features leading up to the competition.
BROADCAST TEAM: Golf Channel’s Grant Boone will conduct play-by-play, Art Sellinger – long-drive pioneer and two-time Long Drive champion – will provide analysis, and Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will provide reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field.
QUALIFYING ROUNDS & RECOGNIZING THE PIONEERS OF LONG DRIVE: As part of the event, the WLDA will stage local and regional qualifying for the Open Division on Saturday-Sunday, June 3-4 (*On-site Registration Open to Public*), which will award four exemptions into the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 6) field later this year. Also taking place on Sunday, June 4, will be a Masters Division (ages 45+) competition, with a field of 16 that includes several individuals who have greatly contributed to the success and sustainability of the sport over the past few decades. The format will feature a round-robin points system, with the top-four moving on to the head-to-head semifinals and finals. The Field: Don Beck, Kevin Blenkhorn, Vincent Ciurluini, Jeff Crittenden, Eddie Fernandes, Mark Frampton, Jeff Gavin, Chris Hall, Daniel Lambert, David Mobley, Brian Pavlet, Tom Peppard, Bobby Peterson, Lance Reader, Richard Smith and Scott Smith.
DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans will have an opportunity to stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Clash in the Canyon by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. On-site activations will include: a series of Facebook Live videos leading up to the competition that will utilize a drone to offer unique perspective on the venue; Early-round coverage on Facebook Live June 3-5 and; an oversized video board adjacent to the grid showcasing social media interaction from fans in attendance and those following along at home.
The telecast also will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage, and will feature Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin, weighing in on trending themes and conversation as the event unfolds.
In an effort to help viewers get to know some of the personalities behind the top competitors in the Long Drive community, Golf Channel Digital has created a series of player profiles, featuring Sandra Carlborg, Will Hogue, Tim Burke and Trent Scruggs.
The 2017 Open Division schedule consists of qualifying events spanning from March through August, with competitors from each event advancing to the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, which will feature a 96-man field competing for a $270,000 purse. The Women’s Division will feature a field of 32 competitors vying for a purse of $40,000. The event will return to WinStar World Casino & Resort (Thackerville, Okla.) for a third consecutive year, following a multi-year extension as the host site. For the full 2017 World Long Drive Association schedule, visit https://www.worldlongdrive.com/schedule/.