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Bracket Set for 'Round of 16' at Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Tonight at 9 p.m. ET in Primetime, Under the Lights on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 5, 2017, 2:55 pm

Seven of Top-10 in World Long Drive Rankings Among 16 Competitors Vying for Championship Belt at WinStar World Casino and Resort

Tonight’s Telecast Also to Feature Mixed-Team Event Showcasing Four Men Paired with the Four Women Advancing to Tomorrow Night’s Semifinals

THACKERVILLE, OKLA. (Sept. 5, 2017) – The stage is set for 16 of the longest hitters in golf to convene live and in primetime under the lights, beginning tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel at the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship from WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The first of back-to-back nights on Golf Channel, tonight’s telecast will feature the eight Round of 16 matches in the Open (Men’s Division), along with a mixed-team (Open/Women’s Divisions) format. Tomorrow night, the 2017 World Long Drive Association (WLDA) season will culminate in primetime with competitors vying for the title of World Champion and the coveted winner’s belts.

OPEN DIVISION (MEN’S) ROUND OF 16 MATCHES:

(1) Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah) vs. (16) Wes Patterson (St. Louis, Mo.)

(8) Kevin Shook (Bradenton, Fla.) vs. (9) Mitch Grassing (Ottawa, Ont., Canada)

(4) Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.) vs. (13) Stephen Kois (Wheaton, Ill.)

(5) Trent Scruggs (Hickory, N.C.) vs. (12) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.)

(2) Justin James (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) vs. (15) Bobby Bradley (Wellington, Fla.)

(7) Paul Howell (Wilson, N.C.) vs. (10) Steve Monroe (Clearwater, Fla.)

(3) Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. (14) Josh Cassaday (Denver, Colo.)

(6) Joe Miller (London, England) vs. (11) Nick Kiefer (Chicago, Ill.)

The Women’s Division preliminary rounds are taking place today, and fans can follow live scoring in real-time here. The four semifinalists on the Women’s side will take part in tomorrow night’s telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Phillis Meti is looking 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: Live coverage of the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship will air from 9-11 p.m. ET tonight and tomorrow (Wednesday). Golf Central will preview live event coverage both nights, with a special one 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 TOMORROW:Renowned musician, Colt Ford, will be on-site at WinStar’s golf facility tomorrow, 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.

CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT: The Open Division 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 utilize a single-elimination match play format for the semifinals and finals. Competitors in each match will compete head-to-head in two alternating 90-second sets with an opportunity to hit four balls in each set.

Tonight’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: Maurice Allen (No. 1), Tommy Hug (No. 8), Jason Eslinger (No. 13) and Jeff Flagg (No. 19). 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 serves 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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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."

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Love him or not, Miller's authentic style stood out

By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2018, 10:11 pm

The comment was vintage Johnny Miller, raw enough to cause most television producers to wince.

Miller was in the NBC Sports booth at Doral in 2004 when he watched Craig Parry hit another beautiful shot to the green. Miller said what he saw. That was his job.

He just didn't say it like other golf analysts.

''The last time you see that swing is in a pro-am with a guy who's about a 15-handicap,'' Miller said. ''It's just over the top, cups it at the bottom and hits it unbelievably good. It doesn't look ... if Ben Hogan saw that, he'd puke.''

Parry got the last word, of course, holing out a 6-iron from 176 yards in a playoff to win.

Except that wasn't the last word.

''I was in Ponte Vedra going back to the Honda Classic, and my phone is blowing up,'' said Tommy Roy, the longtime golf producer at NBC. ''It started percolating down in Australia, and you had radio stations demanding Johnny Miller be fired.''

Miller could make golf more fun to hear than to watch.

''He doesn't have a filter. That's why he's so good,'' Roy said. ''What he's thinking comes out. And 99.5 percent of the time, that was a great thing for viewers, and for me. And 0.5 percent of the time, it was a problem for our PR department and for me.

''And it was worth it.''

Roy was in Wisconsin on Monday night for his first look at Whistling Straits for the 2020 Ryder Cup. It will be the first Ryder Cup since 1989 that doesn't have Miller in the booth weighing in on good shots and bad with thoughts that immediately become words.

He often entertained. He occasionally irritated. He was rarely dull.

Miller is retiring after three decades calling the shots for NBC. His last tournament will be the Phoenix Open, the perfect exit for a Hall of Fame player once known as the ''Desert Fox'' for winning six times in Arizona. Miller was so good for so long that it was easy for younger generations to forget about that other career he had.


Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

Best of: Photos of Miller through the years


And to think that was nearly his only career in golf.

Miller said he wasn't interested when NBC first approached him, but then his wife stepped in and told him it would be nice to have a steady paycheck. Even then, it took time for him to realize his audience was in the living room, not the locker room.

He made his debut at the Bob Hope Classic in 1990 and it didn't take long for him to leave his mark. Peter Jacobsen faced an awkward lie to the 18th green with water to the left.

''The easiest shot to choke on,'' Miller said.

People thought about choking. Miller said it because that's what he was thinking.

''What came into his brain came out of his mouth,'' said Mike McCarley, president of golf for NBC Sports. ''He was the first to really talk about the pressure. It's the most important element of the game, especially in those really big moments. He was doing it at a time when others weren't.''

It wasn't just the word ''choke.''

Phil Mickelson was getting up-and-down from everywhere at the 2010 Ryder Cup when Miller suggested that if Lefty weren't such a good putter he'd be selling cars in San Diego. Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton were losing a fourballs match at the 1999 Ryder Cup when Miller blurted out, ''My hunch is that Justin needs to go home and watch it on television.''

During the 2008 U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines that Tiger Woods won in 19 holes over Rocco Mediate, Miller suggested that guys named ''Rocco'' don't get their name on the trophy, and that Mediate looked like ''the guy who cleans Tiger's swimming pool.''

It wasn't all bad.

Roy, who also has produced NBA Finals and Olympics, said he wants analysts who first-guess, not second-guess. The latter is for talk radio. First-guessing means sharing instincts, and Miller had plenty of them.

Woods was playing the final hole at Newport in the 1995 U.S. Amateur when Miller said, ''It wouldn't surprise me if he knocked this thing a foot from the hole.''

And that's just what Woods did.

McCarley remembers how retired NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol used to worry whenever Miller called because he thought it was about retirement. McCarley soon inherited that feeling.

''Every time I'd see Johnny's number pop up on my cellphone, my heart would skip a beat,'' McCarley said. ''Two years ago, he made that call I had been dreading.''

McCarley kept him working a slightly reduced schedule, but no longer. Miller is 71 and has been on the road for 50 years. His 24th grandchild was born on Sunday. He wants to teach them fly fishing in Utah, perhaps even a little golf.

Miller wasn't sure he would last a week when he started. He never imagined going nearly 30 years.

He leaves behind a style all his own.

Most loved it. Some didn't. But everyone listened, and that might be his legacy in the broadcast booth. Roy said what he has heard from viewers he knows is that 70 percent really like Miller, and 30 percent really don't.

''But they all have an opinion,'' he said.

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CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.

Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.

Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.

Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.

TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

Live streamingWednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.

Key stats:

 This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia

• 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list

The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)

Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together

Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit

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Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:55 pm

Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.

While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.

"It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."

In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Web.com Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.

"There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."

Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.

"The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."