Tiger, Phil and Rory aren’t on this leaderboard. Instead it’s names like Joe, Jamie and Aaron, and they are the rock stars of their sport who swing a golf club more than 150 miles per hour and crush drives more than 400 yards.
On Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, eight of the longest drivers in the world will face off in a $250,000 winner-take-all competition in Las Vegas to determine who will win the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP finals.
'The finale of many long months of qualifying will play out Wednesday night under the lights on live television with eight of the longest hitters in the world going head to head for the title of world champion,' said Keith Allo, Vice President of Programming and Original Productions, Golf Channel. 'There's a lot on the line for these competitors who have put in the hours to try and make their mark, so they should put on a great show.'
The two-hour, live finale on Golf Channel will take place under the lights on a one-of-a-kind venue built for speed at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The pumped-up finalists will hit from a custom-made platform built into the speedway’s grandstands, which will be surrounded by thousands of spirited fans. The competitors will hit their drives on to a Championship grid on the race track infield below, creating a visual feast for television viewers.
Video Preview: RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship on Golf Channel
Golf Channel’s broadcast team will include Bob Papa, who will serve as the telecast’s play-by-play voice; Michael Breed, host of THE GOLF FIX on Golf Channel, who will offer analysis and share some of the swing science behind the long drive; and MORNING DRIVE Co-Host Holly Sonders, who will handle interviews with the competitors. 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 Las Vegas Motor Speedway routinely says ‘Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.’ On Wednesday, the longest hitters will take the stage and produce ball speeds over 220mph,” said Sellinger. “Eight hitters remain to stake their claim to the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship title and the $250k first place prize. Long Drivers of America is proud to call Golf Channel the home of the longest hitters in the game.”
Starting with 192 hopefuls in the Open Division, local and regional qualifying has narrowed the field to eight finalists who will be competing to take home the championship belt. Members of “The October 8” competing for the title of 2013 RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion are:
- Matt Hanger, Anaheim, Calif.
- Patrick Hopper, Columbia, S.C.
- Will Hogue, Collierville, Tenn.
- Tyler Kellett, Scottsdale, Ariz.
- Aaron Mansfield, Washington, Pa.
- Joe Miller, London, England
- Jamie Sadlowski, St. Paul, Alberta, Canada
- Tim Burke, Orlando, Fla.
Miller (2010) and Sadlowski (2008, 2009) are returning former champions. 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.
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.