Driver vs. Driver Finalists Competing for Largest Grand Prize in Golf Channel Series History

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 19, 2016, 3:01 pm

Life-Changing Prize of $500,000 to be Awarded to the Winner on the Nov. 22 Finale; Winning Driver to Hit Retail Stores Nationwide Three Days Later on Black Friday, Nov. 25

Wilson Golf Taking Unique Approach to Find Next Great Golf Driver in First-of-its-Kind Television Series by Giving Viewers an Inside Look at the Golf Club Design Process From Taking Prototypes to Reality, Premiering Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 10 p.m. ET

 Former Chicago Bears Linebacker and Avid Golfer Brian Urlacher Headlines Panel of Judges Critiquing Finalists’ Designs

 Driver vs. Driver Series Trailer

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 19, 2016 – Wilson Golf issued an open call and declared an unprecedented challenge – develop a concept that can be transformed into golf’s next cutting-edge driver – in a first-of-its-kind television series airing on Golf Channel. The reward: a life-changing grand prize of $500,000 and a Wilson Staff driver inspired by their concept hitting retail stores nationwide on Black Friday, Nov. 25, three days after the season finale. Driver vs. Driver presented by Wilson premieres Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 10 p.m. ET.

WINNING DRIVER AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE ON BLACK FRIDAY: The Wilson Staff driver inspired by the winner’s concept will be revealed at the conclusion of the season finale, airing Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. ET, and the winner will receive a grand prize of $500,000, the biggest prize in Golf Channel history. Three days later on Black Friday, the driver will be available for purchase at hundreds of retail and golf course pro shops stores across the country. The winning driver also will be available for purchase online at www.Wilson.com and Golf Channel Digital.

DRIVER VS. DRIVER JUDGES: Driver vs. Driver will follow the trials and tribulations of aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to win a life-changing $500,000 and have their driver concept sold at retail under the Wilson Staff name. The 11 finalists, selected through an open call application process, will present to a panel of celebrity judges – former Chicago Bears linebacker and avid golfer Brian Urlacher, former USGA Technical Director Frank Thomas and President of Wilson Golf Tim Clarke. Two-time PGA TOUR winner and Wilson Advisory Staff member Kevin Streelman joins the series as a judge beginning with the third episode.

DRIVER VS. DRIVER FINALISTS: The series’ finalists are a diverse cast that includes golf professionals and former club manufacturers, college students, engineers and product designers. Some of the finalists are well versed in the sport of golf, where others have never taken up the game but have extensive engineering and design backgrounds.

-          Jonathan Dineen, Wilmington, N.C. – An industrial engineer whose driver concept was his thesis at Appalachian State University.

-          Richard Gischer, Crowley, Texas; and Kimberly Leonard, Pinckneyville, Ill. – A brother-sister team with golf, sales and communications expertise.

-          Kyle Hanquist and Kevin Neitzel, Ann Arbor, Mich. – Colleagues and friends at the University of Michigan who are PhD students in aerospace engineering.

-          Jimmy Huynh, Brian Mar, Patrick Soriano, Sheila Pancani and Matt Ulery, Long Beach, Calif. – Seniors in the industrial design program at California State University.

-          Branndon Jones and Ryan Nelson, Knoxville, Tenn. – High school friends who are studying at the University of Tennessee.

-          Steve Kirouac, Welland, Ontario, Canada – A retired art teacher.

-          Weston Maughan, Draper, Utah – A former golf professional now working in the business sector.

-          Matt Purtell, Sonoma, Calif. – An avid golfer and building contractor.

-          Eric Sillies, Cincinnati, Ohio – A product designer who interned at Dick’s Sporting Goods in college, helping the aesthetic direction for the 2012 Nickent golf club line.

-          Gavin Wallin, Eagle Mountain, Utah – A product designer who has extensive experience in golf club design with multiple manufacturers.

-          Karl West, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada – A long time golf instructor and a self-professed “tinkerer” who enjoys conceptualizing and designing golf clubs in his basement lab.

The seven-episode series will then take viewers behind the scenes as the advancing teams work with Wilson LABS – the innovation hub at Wilson – engineers to evaluate, critique, refine and test their concepts, all while the judges evaluate the best concept that will help golfers perform better off the tee.

Viewers also will get a look behind the curtain at one of the most iconic global sports brands, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Golf Channel cameras will give viewers a glimpse inside the company’s Wilson LABS facility, an expansive innovation center that serves as a primary design and testing hub for its sporting goods concepts and products, including golf, tennis, basketball, baseball and football, among others.

MELANIE COLLINS TO HOST: Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins will serve as the host of Driver vs. Driver. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins also was a co-host for Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

ABOUT WILSON SPORTING GOODS:

Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a subsidiary of Amer Sports, is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Wilson Golf is a global leader in high performance golf equipment and uses player insights to design products that push golf innovation into new territories. Through its dedication to creating products that enable athletes at every level to perform at their best, Wilson has earned its place as a leader in sporting goods for over a century.

ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL

Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available in more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and 11 languages around the world. Golf Channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, including tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, The Open Championship, Olympics, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platforms, headed by Golf Channel Digital, are leading golf digital destinations, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Live Extra and NBC Sports Live Extra and select programming is simulcast via SiriusXM’s PGA TOUR Radio. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s largest golf course ratings and review resource for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.

 -NBC Sports Group-

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm