In His Own Words - Mark OMeara 1998 Masters Part 1

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 16, 2001, 5:00 pm
RICH LERNER
NEARLY EVERY MASTERS IT SEEMS LEAVES US WITH A MEMORABLE STORY LINE. WHETHER IT'S CRENSHAW WINNING ONE FOR HARVEY PENNICK OR TIGER AT 21 BLAZING A NEW TRAIL, BUT 1998 WAS ESPECIALLY RIVETING IN THE WAY THAT A THRILLING KENTUCKY DERBY IS WITH SEVERAL HORSES IN FULL THUNDERING STRIDE GALLOPING TO THE WIRE FOR GREEN JACKET GLORY.
 
IN THE END MARK O'MEARA'S TRIUMPH LEFT US NOT ONLY BREATHLESS BUT MINDFUL OF THE FACT THAT PERSEVERANCE DOES PAY.
 
MARK, PRIOR TO 1998 YOU HAD PLAYED AUGUSTA MASTERS 14 TIMES. YOU DIDN'T PLAY IT ALL THAT WELL. SCORING AVERAGE OF ALMOST 73. ONLY ONE TOP TEN, A FOURTH PLACE FINISH IN 1992. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT YOUR GAME AND AUGUSTA NATIONAL THAT WASN'T A PARTICULARLY GOOD FED UP UNTIL LAST YEAR?
 
MARK O'MEARA
RICH A LOT OF TIMES WE PLACE SUCH HIGH IMPORTANCE ON THE MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS AND I KNOW THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL THAT AUGUSTA NATIONAL IS A RIGHT TO LEFT TYPE GOLF COURSE.
 
I TEND TO HIT A... RIGHT TO LEFT TYPE PATTERNED GOLF SHOT. YOU'VE GOT TO PUTT WELL, LET'S FACE IT, TO WIN AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL. I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A PRETTY GOOD PUTTER THROUGHOUT MY CAREER AND SO I'VE ALWAYS PROBABLY PUT TO MUCH PRESSURE ON MYSELF THINKING THAT IF I WAS GOING TO WIN A MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP IT WOULD PROBABLY BE AUGUSTA NATIONAL.
 
RICH LERNER
DAY ONE IS ALL ABOUT THE WIND. GUSTING UP TO 40 MILES PER HOUR. HOW DID THE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS IMPACT YOUR, YOUR FOUR ROUND GAME PLAN?
 
MARK O'MEARA
THE GOLF COURSE WAS PLAYING VERY DIFFICULT EARLY IN THE WEEK IN THE PRACTICE ROUNDS, HARD, FAST, A LITTLE BIT OF WIND. THE STORM BLEW THROUGH. PUT SOME WATER, SOME MOISTURE ON THE GOLF COURSE.
 
WE GOT OUT THERE THURSDAY. THE WIND WAS SWIRLING... VERY, VERY DIFFICULT CONDITIONS BUT I TEND TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE OF A LOW BALL HITTER SO I FELT LIKE HEY THIS IS GOING TO BE BETTER FOR ME BECAUSE NOW, NOT THAT MANY GUYS ARE GOING TO GO REAL LOW, SO I NEED TO BE PATIENT OUT THERE AND JUST TRY TO FACTOR IN THE WIND, TRY TO CONTROL MY GOLF BALL THE BEST I CAN AND, AND TRY TO GET A, A, A REASONABLE DECENT SCORE.
 
RICH LERNER
FREDDIE WAS THE ONLY GUY WHO BROKE 70 IN ROUND ONES, SO YOU'RE SORT OF WHERE YOU NEED TO BE. YOU'RE 5 BACK. HE SHOT A 69. ROUND 2 YOU SHOOT A 70. YOU'RE AT THE MIDWAY POINT.
 
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH WHERE YOU'RE AT, BECAUSE YOU'RE, AGAIN, YOU'RE ONLY 5 BACK?
 
MARK O'MEARA
I AM PLEASED. I THINK ANYTIME YOU GO TO A MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP, THE FIRST THING THAT YOU LOOK AT IS THAT YOU WANT TO PLAY WELL BUT YOU WANT TO MAKE THE CUT. AND NOW I'VE MADE THE CUT.
 
I'VE SHOT 74, 70...I'M BACK TO EVEN PAR. I'M STILL BEHIND THE LEADERS BUT I ALSO REALIZE THAT HEY I'M GOING INTO
THE WEEKEND. ALL OF A SUDDEN I STARTED TO SEE BETTER RESULTS ON THE GREENS, NOW THE CONFIDENCE IS SLOWLY BUT SURELY GROWING JUST A LITTLE BIT.
 
RICH LERNER
SATURDAY... BREAKS AND THE CONDITIONS ARE NOW IDEAL AND YOU GO OUT AND YOU BIRDIE ONE AND YOU BIRDIE NINE AND NOW YOU'RE STARTING TO FIND YOUR GAME
UH NO PUN INTENDED MR. TAYLOR MADE
 
(MARK O'MEARA LAUGHS)
 
RICH LERNER
BUT YOU ARE FINDING YOUR GAME AND YOU KICK IT INTO ANOTHER GEAR AT, AT NUMBER 12.
 
MARK O'MEARA
NUMBER 12 WAS, WAS VERY KEY BECAUSE I HIT A GOOD SHOT IN THERE AND I HAD ABOUT A 14 FOOTER, 16 FOOTER FOR BIRDIE. I, ONCE AGAIN WAS THINKING A LITTLE BIT ABOUT GETTING MY EYES OVER THE BALL TRYING TO GET MORE SQUARED UP. I MADE A GOOD STROKE THERE, THE BALL ROLLED TRUE ON THE GREEN AND WENT IN THE HOLE AND ANYTIME .
 
(CROWD IN BACKGROUND CHEERING)
 
LET ALONE HIT THE 12TH GREEN YOU'RE HAPPY, BUT WHEN YOU WALK OFF WITH A BIRDIE, IT GIVES YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE CONFIDENCE AND I WENT TO 13, I HIT A PRETTY GOOD TEE SHOT, MISSED THE GREEN JUST TO THE LEFT
FORTUNATELY FOR ME THERE, ON 13, I HIT A GOOD PUTT.
 
IT GOT UP AND LEFT TO THE HOLE JUST TO THE EDGE OF THE RIDGE... HAD ENOUGH SPEED JUST TO CARRY HIM DOWN BY THE HOLE TO ABOUT 6 FEET 8 FEET AND I MADE THAT FOR BIRDIE.
 
(AUDIENCE APPLAUSE)
 
RICH LERNER
AND THEN 18 I THOUGHT WAS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. YOU DROVE IT RIGHT INTO THE TREES ON THE PINE STRAW AND MADE A TERRIFIC UP AND DOWN... MADE FOUR.
 
MARK O'MEARA
WELL ESPECIALLY AT AUGUSTA, RICH, THEY'VE ADDED SOME TREES OVER ON THE RIGHT SIDE ON 18 AND YEARS AGO, PEOPLE WOULD HIT IN THERE, YOU'VE SEEN SOME DRAMATIC SHOTS PLAYED OUT OF 18.
 
WE SAW THE ONE THAT JOHN HUSTON HIT UM MYSELF, I WAS JUST TRYING TO GET THE BALL BACK UP IN FRONT OF THE GREEN SOMEWHERE TO GIVE MYSELF AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAYBE WALK AWAY WITH A PAR.
 
I HIT A, A 5 IRON OUT OF THE STRAW... LOW, AROUND THE TREES GOT UP JUST SHORT OF THE GREEN, SHORT RIGHT, HIT A, A PRETTY GOOD PITCH SHOT UP THERE I BELIEVE TO ABOUT 6 OR 8 FEET AND I MADE THAT PUTT FOR PAR AND AS YOU POINTED OUT THAT WAS REALLY A, A, A GREAT PAR AT THE RIGHT TIME.
 
RICH LERNER
WELL IT GOT YOU INTO THE FINAL GROUP WHICH YOU HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED AT AUGUSTA. GOOD PAIRING FOR YOU... WITH FREDDIE COUPLES. EXPLAIN HOW THAT CHEMISTRY WORKS BETWEEN YOU TWO GUYS.
 
MARK O'MEARA
IT WAS NICE TO BE ABLE TO PLAY WITH FRED BECAUSE FRED AND I WENT TO THE QUALIFYING SCHOOL IN THE FALL OF '80 TOGETHER. WE WERE PAIRED TOGETHER ON THE LAST DAY. WE BOTH GOT OUR TOUR CARDS TOGETHER.
 
WE BOTH BASICALLY STARTED OUT OUR CAREERS TOGETHER AND FRED COUPLES AS EVERYONE KNOWS IS A WONDERFUL GUY ON THE GOLF COURSE. VERY LAID BACK, VERY RELAXED BUT VERY COMPETITIVE AND A VERY GOOD BURNING DESIRE TO WANT TO WIN GOLF TOURNAMENTS UM I FELT LIKE IF IT WAS GOING TO BE AN ADVANTAGE FOR ME IT WOULD BE TO BE PAIRED WITH FRED COUPLES ON SUNDAY.
 
RICH LERNER
SUNDAY DAWNS AND IT IS ALMOST SURREAL, MARK. JACK NICKLAUS AT THE AGE OF 58 GOES OUT AND HE BIRDIES 2, HE CHIPS IN ON 3 AND THROWS THE HANDS UP AND, AUGUSTA'S GOING ABSOLUTELY BANANAS.
 
HE BIRDIES 6, HE BIRDIES 7 AND SUDDENLY HE IS 2 BACK AND THE GRAND OLD COURSE IS AS ELECTRIC AS I HAVE EVER SEEN IT. I, I'M WONDERING DID, DID THAT CHARGE YOU UP AT ALL AS YOU WERE BEGINNING YOUR DAY?
 
MARK O'MEARA
IT DID UH AS A YOUNG CHILD GROWING UP, I MEAN I STARTED GOLF AT A LATE AGE OF 13. I KNOW THAT DOESN'T SOUND LATE BUT COMPARED TO TODAY, AND JACK NICKLAUS WAS ALWAYS MY IDOL AS A YOUNG MAN GROWING UP I MEAN HIS PERFORMANCE IN MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS AND WHAT HE'S DONE IN THE GAME OF GOLF WILL PROBABLY NEVER BE REPEATED.
 
SO TO BE ABLE TO PLAY IN THE FINAL GROUP ON SUNDAY WITH FRED COUPLES, TO BE ABLE TO FEEL THE ELECTRICITY THAT WAS IN THE AIR, LIKE YOU SAID RICH, WITH ALL THE OTHER THINGS GOING ON LET ALONE SEEING JACK NICKLAUS GET OFF TO AN INCREDIBLE START ON SUNDAY DEFINITELY WAS A MOTIVATING FACTOR.
 
RICH LERNER
SO YOU BIRDIE 3, NICE LENGTHY BIRDIE PUTT. AND THEN YOU MAKE THAT NBA RANGE, 3 POINT BOMB AT, AT NUMBER 4. YOU'RE, YOU'RE OBVIOUSLY FEELING IT AT THIS POINT.
 
MARK O'MEARA
I AM BECAUSE THAT IS AN AREA THAT I DON'T, I MAKE A LOT OF PUTTS, I FEEL LIKE I'M A VERY GOOD PUTTER BUT I WOULDN'T SAY MY STRENGTH IS MAKING A LOT OF 40 OR 30, 50 FOOT PUTTS.
 
I FEEL I'M VERY GOOD IN THAT SHORT RANGE AND WHEN THAT PUTT WENT IN ON NUMBER 4 I WAS LIKE HEY YOU KNOW, MAYBE YOU CAN JUST MAYBE SLIP IN AND DO THIS THING THIS YEAR.
 
RICH LERNER
MARK, EARLY ON, ANY SENSE OF, OF BEING TENSE?
 
MARK O'MEARA
I WAS TENSE UH I THINK ANYTIME I PLAY A GOLF TOURNAMENT, NO MATTER WHAT TOURNAMENT IT IS, IF I HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN, I'M A LITTLE BIT NERVOUS AND I KNOW, I ACTUALLY KNEW IN THE BACK OF MY MIND THAT
GOING IN THAT, THAT MY CHANCES TO WIN A MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP WERE SLOWLY BUT SURELY DWINDLING A LITTLE BIT AND EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T A LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION.
 
IF I WON OR IF I DIDN'T WIN AT AUGUSTA IT STILL WOULD HAVE BEEN DISAPPOINTING IF I DIDN'T GO OUT AND PUT ON A GOOD PERFORMANCE ON SUNDAY.
 
RICH LERNER
IN THE PRESS TENT SATURDAY NIGHT, YOU'RE TWO OFF THE LEAD SO YOU'RE ANSWERING SOME QUESTIONS UM, DID YOU GET HIT WITH THE 'MARK, WHAT DOES TOMORROW MEAN?' CONSIDERING
 
MARK O'MEARA
WELL
 
RICH LERNER
YOU'VE NEVER WON A MAJOR?
 
MARK O'MEARA
I DID. I DID AND, AND I WAS IN THAT CATEGORY THAT A LOT OF PLAYERS HAVE BEEN IN AND IT'S A NICE CATEGORY AT LEAST FOR PEOPLE TO THINK THAT HEY YOU KNOW HE'S A GOOD ENOUGH PLAYER THAT GOSH HOW COME HE HASN'T WON A MAJOR TO THIS POINT AND I EXPLAINED TO THE MEDIA... NO I HAVEN'T WON A MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP YET BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION.
 
WHEN I GO OUT AND PLAY ON SUNDAY, YOU KNOW, I WANT TO DO WELL BUT IF I DON'T DO WELL I THINK MY WIFE AND MY FAMILY ARE STILL GOING TO LOVE ME.
 
RICH LERNER
DO YOU THINK THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE WHO MAYBE DIDN'T BUY THAT, THAT LINE OF THINKING, WHO SAID MARK'S JUST SAYING THAT IT, IT'S, IT'S A CRUTCH?
 
MARK O'MEARA
UH PROBABLY AND YOU KNOW THEY... EVERYBODY HAS A RIGHT TO BELIEVE AND, AND THINK WHAT THEY WANT TO THINK BUT I, I KNEW THAT MAYBE, YOU KNOW, MAYBE IT'S JUST NOT THE TIME FOR ME MAYBE, MAYBE I'VE HAD A NICE CAREER, MAYBE I'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN A MAJOR.
 
ANNOUNCER:
THROUGH 5 HOLES O'MEARA AND COUPLES WERE TIED AT 7 UNDER. DUVAL TWO GROUPS AHEAD STOOD FOUR BACK. THE LEADERS AFTER LENGTHY PAR SAVING PUTTS AT THE 6TH DEMONSTRATING THE UTMOST RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER.

MEANWHILE, DUVAL CONTINUED TO INCH CLOSER, PICKING UP YET ANOTHER SHOT AT THE 7TH. AT THAT SAME HOLE FRED COUPLES HIT THIS PERFECT APPROACH
SETTING UP BIRDIE AND GIVING THE '92 CHAMPION THE OUTRIGHT LEAD.
 
DUVAL, CHARGING HARD AT THE PAR 4 NINTH, THREW THIS DART TO SET UP A BIRDIE WHICH WOULD TAKE HIM TO FIVE UNDER BACK AT THE PAR 5 EIGHT, COUPLES RECOVERED FROM A POORLY HIT 2ND SHOT AND EXECUTED THIS SUPERB PLAY.
 
THE ENSUING BIRDIE CARRIED THE POPULAR COUPLES TO NINE UNDER PAR. O'MEARA HOLDING STEADY BUT WOULD STEADY BE GOOD ENOUGH ON THIS DAY?
 
RICH LERNER
YOU'RE TWO DOWN GOING TO THE 9TH HOLE. 9TH HOLE WAS A PIVOTAL AS ANY. YOU'RE 2 SHOTS DOWN TO A GUY WHO HAS JUST MADE 2 CONSECUTIVE BIRDIES. THE MOMENTUM IS CLEARLY IN HIS FAVOR.
 
MARK O'MEARA
I THINK THIS
 
RICH LERNER
WHAT'S YOUR MIND, WHAT'S YOUR MIND SET?
 
MARK O'MEARA
WELL I THINK THIS IS WHERE EXPERIENCE COMES IN AND I USE IT AS, AS AN ADVANTAGE FOR ME FROM THE STANDPOINT THAT YOU KNOW, I HIT A BAD TEE SHOT. NO QUESTION ABOUT IT, BUT I'VE HIT BAD TEE SHOTS BEFORE.
 
I'VE BEEN OVER THERE BEFORE AND THERE WAS NO NEED TO NECESSARILY PANIC, BUT LET'S JUST GET OUR SELF BACK OUT. LET'S GET IT BACK ON THE FAIRWAY TO WHERE I GOT A SAND WEDGE TO THE GREEN OR A PITCHING WEDGE... TRY TO MAKE PAR.
 
THAT'S MY MIND THOUGHT, AND FRED'S DEFINITELY LOOKING AT BIRDIE AND SO WHEN FRED CAME UP JUST SHORT, SPUN THE BALL BACK OFF THE GREEN NOW I'VE PITCHED THE BALL TO ABOUT SIX FEET, ALL OF A SUDDEN IT'S, YOU KNOW, THE GAME HAS CHANGED. I MAKE MINE FOR PAR. FRED MISSES HIS 8 FOOTER AND MAKES BOGIE.
 
RICH LERNER
YOU WALK OFF NINE GOING 'PHEW' I JUST STOLE ONE AND WH....
 
MARK O'MEARA
I THINK YOU GOT TO THINK THAT... AND I KNOW THAT I THOUGHT THAT, BECAUSE YOU, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE, ONCE AGAIN, FRED HIT A GOOD SHOT TO THE 8TH... TO THE 9TH GREEN AND I MEAN IT WAS A GOOD GOLF SHOT
BUT THAT'S WHERE AUGUSTA CAN BE
 
RICH LERNER
YEAH
 
MARK O'MEARA
SO PENALIZING. JUST A LITTLE BIT OF A MISCALCULATION OR A LITTLE BIT TOO MUCH SPIN OR LAND IN A CERTAIN AREA IT COMES BACK OFF THE GREEN, WE'VE SEEN IT HAPPEN BEFORE TO OTHER PLAYERS AND YOU KNOW IT HAPPENED TO FRED ON, ON SUNDAY.
 
RICH LERNER
AT THE VERY NEXT HOLE THERE WAS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF MARK O'MEARA NOT PANICKING.... YOU, YOU FINALLY MISSED THE PUTT... IT WAS... A FAIRLY SHORT PUTT, WHAT ABOUT 5 FEET, 4 OR 5 FEET BUT HIT A PRETTY GOOD PUTT
AND, AND IT DIDN'T PHASE YOU, WHY?
 
MARK O'MEARA
I MADE A GOOD STROKE. I FELT SOMEWHAT COMFORTABLE OVER IT AND I HIT A GOOD PUTT AND IT LIPPED OUT, SO I WASN'T OVERLY DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE AT LEAST I HAD THE RIGHT MIND SET, RICH, WHEN I WAS OVER THE PUTT AND THAT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME.
 
READ THE REST OF THIS TRANSCRIPT
 

 

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Watch: Furyk throws out first pitch at Yankees-Mets

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 12:59 pm

As part of a a New York media tour to promote the Ryder Cup, U.S. captain Jim Furyk threw out the first pitch at Monday evening's game between the Yankees and Mets at Yankee Stadium.


Here's a look at some more photos from Captain Furyk's Ryder Cup Trophy tour.




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Randall's Rant: Woods' message to young rivals: Bring it on!

By Randall MellAugust 13, 2018, 11:24 pm

Bring it on!

OK, I’m not fluent in body language, and maybe that’s not exactly what Tiger Woods was communicating with his exuberant fist pump after closing out a 64 Sunday at the PGA Championship, but there was so much hope in the excitement he let loose with his closing birdie.

Hope beyond what was still going on behind him at Bellerive.

Hope in what lies ahead.

Bring it on!

You know Woods wanted Brooks Koepka to hear his legion roar, to let Koepka know he better not stumble back there behind him. You know he also wanted Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and all today’s stars to hear all those roars, to let them know he’s finally fit for a fight again.

Bring it on!

Yes, Koepka refused to flinch, and Woods ultimately finished second, but that rollicking last fist pump told you what Sunday’s finish meant to Woods.

He’s going to win again.

That’s the confidence won closing the way he did, celebrating at the 72nd hole in a way we’ve only ever seen him do on his way to hoisting a trophy.

Because that’s where he is headed again.

He can and will win again.

Bring it on!

That’s the thrilling promise Sunday brought to all of golf.

Koepka wasn’t about to get out of Woods’ way, in the fashion the players of another era seemed to do when weekend roars preceded a Woods stampede. Koepka did today’s players a favor sending his own message. He was a rock. He didn’t flinch and didn’t fold in the wake of all those deafening Tiger roars.


PGA Championship: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


If Koepka flinches Sunday, it sends the wrong message to all these other young guys. It gives them all pause. It makes them all wonder if Tiger’s aura really does come with some unfair advantage, with a one- or two-shot advantage in his ability to ride the noisy chaos to heights they can’t. We heard more than one young star complain this spring about the boisterous crowds that followed Woods.

These young guys don’t need that in their heads.

So Koepka didn’t back down, and Johnson, Thomas, McIlroy, Spieth, Day, Fowler and Rahm aren’t likely to, either.

That’s the great fun Woods’ comeback brings. The battles all these young guys say they want with the legend are real possibilities now, with all those Tiger birdies and Tiger roars confirming Sunday that he is ready to begin giving them what they want.

“I’ve always wanted to battle it out in a major with Tiger,” Jordan Spieth said during The Open last month. “Who hasn’t? It’s kind of a dream come true, just to have the opportunity.”

The wonder in Sunday’s finish is that Woods was so good spraying his driver all over the place early in the round. Back in the day, he would have said he shot that 64 with his “B” game. You won’t hear him say things like that now, but the beauty in the round was knowing how he may have turned a 70 into a 64. It was in knowing how much better he still might get on these old legs.

It’s a shame we have to wait eight months for the Masters to see if his run of T-6 at The Open and 2nd at the PGA Championship continues on a majestic trajectory, because the message I heard in his last fist pump is still ringing in my ears.

Bring it on!

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Eight Men, Four Women Advance to "Tennessee Big Shots," Airing Monday, Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. ET Live on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 13, 2018, 7:25 pm

Airing Live on Golf Channel, Fourth Televised Event of 2018 is Final Tour Stop Prior to Season-Culminating Volvik World Long Drive Championship

Field Boasts Six of Top-10 in World Led by No. 1 Justin James, Three-Time 2018 Winner Will Hogue; & Two-time World Champion Phillis Meti

The World Long Drive Association (WLDA) season continues tonight with the Tennessee Big Shots benefiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital, airing live at 6 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. The live telecast will showcase the eight men and four women having advanced from preliminary rounds where they’ll compete in single-elimination matches until respective champions are crowned. The Open (Men’s) Division field will feature six of the top-nine competitors in the World Long Drive rankings, including No. 1 Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) along with Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.), who has accumulated three wins to-date in 2018. The Women’s Division will feature two-time world champion Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand) and Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.,) who won the Clash in the Canyon earlier this year. Chloe Garner (Johnson City, Tenn.,) also is returning from injury in her first competition of 2018 in what will be a de-facto “home game,” while LPGA Tour player Emily Tubert (Burbank, Calif.) is the fourth semifinalist, competing in her first-ever WLDA competition.

“We’ve finally reached the home stretch of the season,” said Jonathan Coachman, play-by-play host for World Long Drive Association events on Golf Channel. “With the World Championship only weeks away, the competitors understand the need to be on their game. I’ve always said that champions show up anytime, anywhere, for anything. They better have that mind-set, beginning with tonight’s Tennessee Big Shots.

 

OPEN DIVISION QUARTERFINAL MATCHES (Seeded by world ranking):

(1) Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) vs. (25) Wes Patterson (St Louis, Mo.)

(5) Ryan Steenberg (Rochester, N.Y.) vs. (8) Paul Howell (Wilson, N.C.)

(4) Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah) vs. (9) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.)

(2) Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. (24) Stephen Kois (Wheaton, Ill.)

 

WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES:

Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.) vs. Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand)

Chloe Garner (Johnson City, Tenn.) vs. Emily Tubert (Burbank, Calif.)

 

Being staged from Cattails at Meadowview Golf Course in Kingsport, Tenn., the inaugural event – in partnership with Ballad Health’s Niswonger Children’s Hospital – is the fourth WLDA event of 2018 scheduled to air live on Golf Channel. Tennessee Big Shots is being contested in association with the Niswonger Children’s Hospital Classic. The eventalso marks the penultimate WLDA competition of the year, with the season-culminating Volvik World Long Drive Championship taking place Aug. 30-Sept. 5.

COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Tennessee Big Shots will air on Golf Channel from 6-8 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 13, with Golf Central previewing the event from 5-6 p.m. ET. Encore showings of the competition are scheduled to air on Golf Channel following the live telecast, from 10 p.m.-Midnight ET and 12:30-2:30 a.m. ET.

The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. An overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” (similar to the “1st & 10 line” made popular in football) will display the longest drive during a given match to signify the driving distance an opposing competitor will need to surpass to take the lead. 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. Trackman technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracing the arc of each drive from the moment of impact.

BROADCAST TEAM: Veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will conduct play-by-play alongside Art Sellinger, World Long Drive pioneer and two-time world champion (1986, ’91). Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will offer reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field.

DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Tennessee Big Shots by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will be on-site contributing to the social conversation as the event unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.

Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Tennessee Big Shots leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.

 

2018 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:

DATE

EVENT

LOCATION

WINNER(S) / DEFENDING CHAMP

March 15-17

East Coast Classic

West Columbia, S.C.

Justin Moose

April 21-24

Clash in the Canyon (*Golf Channel*)

Mesquite, Nev.

Alexis Belton, Will Hogue

May 11-15

Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun (*Golf Channel*)

Maricopa, Ariz.

Phillis Meti, Will Hogue

June 4-5

Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash (*Golf Channel*)

Atlantic City, N.J.

Sandra Carlborg, Mark Costello

June 21-23

Bluff City Shootout

Memphis, Tenn.

Will Hogue

July 6-8

Bash For Cash

Port Rowan, Ont., Canada

Ryan Steenberg

August 2-4

WinStar Midwest Slam

Thackerville, Okla.

Kyle Berkshire

August 12-13

Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital (*Golf Channel*)

Kingsport, Tenn.

(New Event)

September 1-5

Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*)

Thackerville, Okla.

Sandra Carlborg, Justin James

Showcasing the truly global nature of World Long Drive, several events throughout 2018 are staged through officially sanctioned WLDA international partners, including stops in Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, along with an all-encompassing international qualifier for the Open Division of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.

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Making Ryder Cup picks: Furyk begins his toughest task

By Rex HoggardAugust 13, 2018, 6:41 pm

ST. LOUIS – By the time Brooks Koepka teed off for the final round of the PGA Championship, Jim Furyk was already back at his rental house and settled in to watch what would be an eventful final round.

Furyk's day was just getting started.

Although he’d been up since dawn and had already put in a full day at Bellerive with a 7:56 a.m. tee time, Sunday began a process the U.S. Ryder Cup captain has prepared for and anticipated for two years.

“I didn’t get a lot of sleep this week,” Furyk conceded on Sunday following a closing 71 at Bellerive. “At times I found myself with my mind wandering. The afternoon tee times I’m sitting around in the morning and my mind starts wandering and I start looking at stats and start thinking about the Ryder Cup. There’s a million things going on.”

The American captain is officially on the clock. The final round of the year’s final major was the deadline to qualify for this year’s Ryder Cup team, and Furyk now begins the process of narrowing the list of potential captain’s picks.

Davis Love III, who took two turns in the captain’s chair, will tell you this is the toughest part of the gig. Forget about pairings and course setup and vice captains - getting the picks right is what separates a good captain from a great one.

“I saw him around this week kind of frazzled like I was; they are pulling him everywhere,” Love said. “Now it’s a tough couple of weeks. At dinner the other night we were talking about what we were going to do [regarding picks] and I was like, ‘Well, you have to wait for [Sunday] and you’ll get a better idea.”

On that front, the wait is over. The top eight players on the U.S. point list are now locked in and Furyk and his vice captains – Love, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods – can begin the artful process of creating a list of possible picks based on a wide variety of criteria.


PGA Championship: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


The automatic qualifiers are Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson, who held on to the final spot thanks to his tie for 19th at the PGA.

“For some guys we’re going to look at the body of work for a year, for some players we’re going to look at a hot player right now, some guys we’re going to look at pairings and how they fit into the team we have right now,” Furyk said.

Furyk will make three of his captain’s picks on Sept. 3 following the Dell Technologies Championship and his final selection a week later after the BMW Championship.

The short list of possible picks would include Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Woods, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner and Tony Finau, Nos. 9 through 15, respectively, on the final point list.

Schauffele and Finau had something of a playing interview at Bellerive when they were paired with Furyk for Rounds 1 and 2.

“Tony made a pile of birdies, he’s explosive as far as firepower and how far he hits it but I was impressed with his putting, to be honest with you. I knew he could hit it far and kind of knew how he played, but he really played well,” said Furyk, who also played with Finau on Saturday at the PGA.

Mickelson will be a particularly interesting option for Furyk. For the first time in his Ryder Cup career, which began in 1995, Lefty failed to qualify for the U.S. side and the de facto team room front man would be tough to pass over.

“His game has been in a good position all year, he’s putted great, I think Jason Day is the only player with better putting stats this year,” said Furyk, who met with Mickelson after he missed the cut in St. Louis. “He’s working on a couple of things in his game right now that we talked about.”

Woods also creates some interesting scenarios. His runner-up finish at the PGA vaulted him from 20th to 11th on the final point list and essentially assured what many believed to be a foregone conclusion. Woods will be among Furyk’s captain’s picks, the only real question when it comes to the 14-time major champion is whether he can play and drive a vice captain’s cart.

“He’s on that list we’ve talked about and I think we still need to hash that out,” Furyk said. “Is it possible [to do both jobs]? Sure, we just need to decide if that’s best for the team.”

If Woods and Mickelson have already been penciled in as picks, which many believe they have, that essentially leaves a half dozen players vying for the final two spots.

An 11th-hour charge over the next three weeks could certainly sway Furyk, and he’s made it clear that Le Golf National, site of this year’s matches outside of Paris, favors a certain type of game, think a fairways-and-greens type like Kisner or even Brian Harman, who finished 17th on the point list.

“I’ve taken a look at the golf course and what I think will really work,” Furyk said.

There’s also an undercurrent of interest in Furyk going young with his picks to give a player like DeChambeau or Schauffele a chance to experience the unique pressures of a Ryder Cup “road game,” but Furyk didn’t seem as interested in developing future talent as he is in winning.

“Our goals for long term are important and young blood is a good thing, but I would never sacrifice this team or 2018 for 2022,” he said. “The goal is still to go to Europe and try to retain the cup. That said, having a mix of veteran and young players is a good thing.”

If Furyk sounds a little vague when it comes to his potential picks it should be no real surprise. Getting the picks right is the most demanding part of any captain’s job and he’s just getting started.