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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 WorldLongDrive.com 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:

 

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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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."