Golf’s Longest Hitters Convene for Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Airing in Primetime And Under the Lights, Tuesday-Wednesday, Sept. 5-6, on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 28, 2017, 7:35 pm

2017 World Long Drive Association Season to Culminate as 96 Men, 21 Women Compete for Championship Belts at WinStar World Casino and Resort

Golf Channel Showcasing Long Drive-Themed Programming Across News, Instruction, Digital and Social Platforms Leading up to Championship

Renowned Musician Colt Ford to Stage Concert On-Site at WinStar World Casino and Resort Following Completion of Competition Wednesday Night

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2017) – Unfathomable swing speeds, exorbitant tee shots and an abundance of adrenaline collide under the lights as the 2017 World Long Drive Association (WLDA) season culminates with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, airing on back-to-back nights, Tuesday-Wednesday, Sept. 5-6, in primetime on Golf Channel. For the third consecutive year, the event returns to WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla.  

CHAMPIONSHIP OVERVIEW: The Volvik World Long Drive Championship (Sept. 1-6), will feature a 96-man field in the Open (Men’s) Division and 21 competitors in the Women’s Division, all vying for the title of World Champion and the coveted winner’s belts.

The Open Division field is led by current No. 1 in the world and multiple-event winner in 2017, Maurice Allen, along with other top-ranked competitors and 2017 WLDA event winners, including: Ryan Reisbeck (No. 2); Justin James (No. 3), Tim Burke (No. 5) and defending World Champion Joe Miller (No. 9). On the Women’s side, Phillis Meti will look to defend her 2016 World title, alongside 2017 event winners Chloe Garner and Troy Mullins, in addition to four-time former World Champion Sandra Carlborg.

COVERAGE: Golf Channel will feature back-to-back nights of live coverage of the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship, airing in primetime from 9-11 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and from 9-11:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Golf Central will preview live event coverage both nights, with a special hour pre-game show analyzing the matchups, which also will include interviews with those in the field preparing to compete.

PURSE: A $270,000 purse will be paid out among those advancing to the Round of 16 in the Open Division, with the winner receiving $125,000. In the Women’s Division, those advancing to the quarterfinals will earn a portion of the $40,000 purse, with the winner receiving $20,000: (Open: 1st – $125,000; 2nd – $50,000; 3rd/4th – $19,500; 5th-8th – $7,000; 9th-16th – $3,500; Women’s: 1st – $20,000; 2nd – $8,000; 3rd/4th – $3,000; 5th-8th – $1,500).

PRODUCTION: The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize nine dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera along with two crane-positioned cameras (one directly behind the tee box and the other stationed in the landing area) that will track the ball from the moment it leaves the competitor’s clubface until it comes to rest. 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.

BROADCAST TEAM: Golf Channel’s Bob Papa will handle play-by-play duties, while 2012 PGA Professional Teacher of the Year and host of The Golf Fix – Michael Breed – will serve as analyst, and Jerry Foltz will handle interviews. Art Sellinger – long-drive pioneer, two-time national long-drive champion and founder of the Long Drivers of America – also will be on hand to provide an analyst perspective and offer additional background on the competitors. Additionally, Golf Channel reporter Chantel McCabe will be on-site for Golf Central, offering reports and conducting interviews with competitors prior to and following live event coverage.

COLT FORD STAGING CONCERT ON-SITE: Renowned musician, Colt Ford, will be on-site at WinStar’s golf facility on Wednesday, Sept. 6 to perform a special (free) concert for those attending the competition. The band will perform a handful of songs prior to the competition getting underway, and will resume with a full performance immediately following the completion of the event later in the evening.

LONG DRIVE-THEMED PROGRAMMING & CONTENT: Golf Channel will integrate the long drive theme across its instructional, news, digital and social platforms, featuring tips and other dedicated segments to help introduce viewers to those in the field, including:

  • The Golf Fix, Monday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. ET: Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, host Michael Breed will be joined by current No. 1 in the World Long Drive rankings, Maurice Allen, where they’ll focus on creating power in your golf swing, and look ahead to the Championship.
  • School of Golf, Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. ET: Co-hosts Martin Hall and Blair O’Neal will welcome Glenn Wilson Jr. (No. 12 in the rankings) to provide tips for maximizing distance off the tee, while also previewing the Championship.
  • Morning Drive: Morning Drive will continue its season-long efforts to spotlighting some of the most notable competitors in the field through dedicated features allowing viewers to gain greater insight on their background. Several additional players in the field are scheduled to join Morning Drive over the next week in preparation for the back-to-back nights of coverage in primetime.
  • Golf Central: Golf Channel’s evening news program will feature daily updates (Sept. 4-6) leading up to and throughout the televised rounds, previewing and recapping the competition with Golf Channel’s Chantel McCabe offering on-site reports and conducting interviews with competitors.
  • Social Media: Fans will have an opportunity to stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Volvik World Long Drive Championship by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will be offering updates from WinStar throughout the competition. Additional on-site activations will include Facebook Live posts, Instagram stories along with social TV integrations during the telecasts. Content also will make use of a dedicated drone camera on-site, showcasing unique views from high above the competition venue.
  • Digital Coverage: Fans can follow the action up to the minute on WorldLongDrive.com with live scoring, along with daily recaps and video. Golf Channel Digital also will showcase the biggest moments from the event, with highlights and unique content, including daily news desk videos.

CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT: The Open (Men’s) Division will feature a field of 96 competitors, including those having previously earned exemptions into the field along with 26 “Last Chance Qualifiers” who will claim their spot on-site at WinStar on Friday, Sept. 1 through a dedicated points format. The 96 players will be divided into six groups of 16 competitors, with a points system determining the top five (30 total) in each of the six groups to advance to the Round of 32. The final two slots will be given to two of the six competitors having finished sixth in their respective group through two 3-for-1 playoffs. The Round of 32 will utilize a double-elimination match play format to narrow down to the Round of 16. Beginning with the Round of 16, the remainder of the competition will be contested through a single-elimination bracket, narrowing to the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals to ultimately determine a winner.

The Women’s Division also will employ a points system for a field of 21 competitors that will narrow to eight advancing to the quarterfinals. A single-elimination match play format then will be used for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. A Masters Division (age 45+) also will be contested, made up of a field of 32 competitors using the same format and payout structure as the Women’s Division.

Preliminary rounds will give competitors an opportunity to hit eight drives within a 3-minute time limit during each set. Once the field narrows to the television portion of the competition (Round of 16 – Open Division; Semifinals – Women’s Division), players will compete head-to-head in two alternating 90-second sets with an opportunity to hit four balls in each set.

Tuesday night’s telecast also will introduce a new team format, with the top-four in the Women’s Division – who will compete in Wednesday night’s semifinal matches – being paired with the four highest-ranked men in the Open Division not having advanced from the Round of 32. The four, two-person “mixed” teams will face off in a match play bracket format that will use the aggregate yardage of each team member’s longest drive in the set versus that of their opponent’s aggregate yardage.

2017 WLDA SEASON RECAP: The Volvik World Long Drive Championship will serve as the culmination of the 2017 WLDA season that already has produced a number of dramatic moments, led by the two televised events, along with several other events over the course of the past several months, including:

 

Date

Event

Location

Winner (Open)

Winner (Women’s)

April  23

East Coast Classic

West Columbia, S.C.

Tim Burke

 

May 20

WinStar Midwest Slam

Thackerville, Okla.

Landon Gentry

 

May 27

New Zealand Championship

Christchurch, New Zealand

Sam Jones

 

June 6

Clash in the Canyon**

Mesquite, Nev.

Ryan Reisbeck

Chloe Garner

June 25

Bluff City Shootout

Memphis, Tenn.

Justin James

 

July 8

Rockwell Blast

West Bountiful, Utah

Glenn Wilson Jr.

 

July 16

Bash for Cash

Port Robinson, Ont. (Canada)

Justin James

 

July 25

Mile High Showdown**

Denver, Colo.

Maurice Allen

Troy Mullins

July 30

Japan (Tokyo) Championship

Shizuoka, Japan

Kimihiro Minamide

Chika Kobayashi

August 4

U.K. Championship

Enstone, England

Dan Konyk

Ilona Stubley

August 6

Catawba Classic

Newton, N.C.

Maurice Allen

 

August 14

Japan (Iwaki) Championship

Iwaki, Japan

Naoto Misumi

Kaori Saito

(**signifies televised event on Golf Channel)

For more information, visit www.worldlongdrive.com.

ABOUT WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION

The World Long Drive Association is an organization that brings together golf’s longest hitters from around the globe. Emerging as one of golf’s most popular grass roots competitions, sanctioned Long Drive events are open to amateur and professional golfers. With an Open Division, Women’s Division and Masters Division (Ages 45+), the 2017 WLDA season consists of events across the United States and around the world, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship Sept 1-6, from WinStar World Casino and Resort (Thackerville, Okla.,) where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title on Golf Channel.

ABOUT WINSTAR WORLD CASINO AND RESORT

As the world’s largest casino by number of gaming positions, WinStar World Casino and Resort offers more than 7,400 electronic games, 97 table games and 46 poker tables. The Resort also boasts a 3,500-seat entertainment venue – the Global Event Center – as well as nearly 1,500 luxury hotel rooms, a 36-hole championship golf course and state-of-the-art Golf Academy. Located just north of the Oklahoma/Texas border along Interstate 35, WinStar World Casino and Resort presents unrivaled gaming action 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, world-class entertainers and a vibrant culinary scene with 17 diverse restaurants for guests to explore.

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''