Long Drive Comes to Golf Channel With Live World Championships Under the Lights of Las Vegas

By Golf Channel Public RelationsOctober 8, 2013, 7:42 pm

October is “Long Drive Month” on Golf Channel with four straight weeks of Wednesday primetime of the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP, beginning this Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9 pm ET. Golf Channel will dedicate more than 20 hours of programming to the art of hitting it long and showcasing the personalities that compete in a sport where the golf ball regularly travels in excess of 400 yards.

Golf Channel’s coverage will showcase the men and women who compete in long drive, beginning with grassroots local and regional qualifying, and culminating with the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP finals, a live, primetime event under the lights of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where eight finalists will compete for a winner-take-all $250,000 prize. Additionally, NBC will air a 60-minute recap show of the entire RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP in December, which will mark the first time golf’s premier distance event will be seen on network television.

The two-hour, live finale on Wednesday, Oct. 30 will take place under the lights and in front of a spirited crowd at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The pumped-up finalists will hit from a custom-made platform built into the speedway’s grandstands on to a Championship grid on the race track infield below. Bob Papa will provide play-by-play, Michael Breed, host of THE GOLF FIX, will offer analysis on the driving grid, and MORNING DRIVE Co-Host Holly Sonders will handle interviews. Art Sellinger, long-drive pioneer, two-time national long-drive champion and Long Drivers of America Chief Executive Officer, also will be on hand to provide long drive analysis.

'The rightful home of the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP and everything associated with Long Drivers of America is Golf Channel,' says Sellinger. 'Long Drive is a true international sport and viewers from across the globe will gain an even deeper appreciation for the talent, dedication, and sheer strength of our professionals. These players generate the fastest swing and ball speeds in all of golf, a fact that leaves every level of golfer, from tour professionals to amateurs, in awe.'

'As Golf Channel aims to cover all aspects of golf, long drives are some of the most intriguing and fascinating pursuits of golfers,” said Keith Allo, Golf Channel vice president of Original Productions. “Every golf outing and nearly every amateur foursome will have a long drive competition, but our unique coverage from Las Vegas of the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP will look to take fans appreciate for the long drive to a new level.”

During Golf Channel’s coverage, viewers will see dramatic qualifying as a field of 192 hopefuls in the Open Division will be whittled down to the final eight finalists, as well as profiles of the golfers that compete and examinations on the science and strategies behind the long ball. Each 60-minute special will premiere on consecutive Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning this Wednesday, Oct. 9.

The schedule is as follows:

Wed., Oct. 9, 9 pm. ET        RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Qualifying

Wed., Oct. 16, 9 p.m. ET     RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Elimination Rounds

Wed., Oct. 23, 9 p.m. ET     RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Semifinals

Wed., Oct. 30, 9 p.m. ET     RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Finals (Live)

Two-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion Jamie Sadlowski made headlines recently when he broke Golf Channel's golf simulator with a massive drive that pierced the projection screen and its protective net. And he did it again months later with a 7-iron. Sadlowski also hit the longest drive ever recorded to win the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP with a strike of 418 yards in 2008.

Golf Channel will integrate the Long Drive theme into other programming throughout the month. Instructional programs like THE GOLF FIX and SCHOOL OF GOLF will feature long-driving tips in each episode aired during the month, as well as dedicating an entire episode to hitting it farther. The shows also will welcome former World Long Drive Champions like Sadlowski and Joe Miller to share their secrets.

In October 2012, Long Drivers of America announced a new, three-year broadcast partnership with Golf Channel, which moved the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP to the network after 17 years on ESPN. This annual world championship of long driving has taken place each year since 1975 and attracts competitors from all over the world. Participation in competitions has nearly tripled and prize money has increased five-fold. Finalists in the competition often have swing speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and can hit the ball more than 400 yards, which is more than 100 yards longer than the average PGA TOUR professional.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.