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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 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:





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


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.


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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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.