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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.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.