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Long Drive Comes to Golf Channel With Live World Championships Under the Lights of Las Vegas

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KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 09: Rickie Fowler of the United States hits off the second tee during Round One of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 9, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)  - 

October is “Long Drive Month” on Golf Channel with four straight weeks of Wednesday primetime of the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP, beginning this Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9 pm ET. Golf Channel will dedicate more than 20 hours of programming to the art of hitting it long and showcasing the personalities that compete in a sport where the golf ball regularly travels in excess of 400 yards.

Golf Channel’s coverage will showcase the men and women who compete in long drive, beginning with grassroots local and regional qualifying, and culminating with the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP finals, a live, primetime event under the lights of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where eight finalists will compete for a winner-take-all $250,000 prize. Additionally, NBC will air a 60-minute recap show of the entire RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP in December, which will mark the first time golf’s premier distance event will be seen on network television.

The two-hour, live finale on Wednesday, Oct. 30 will take place under the lights and in front of a spirited crowd at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The pumped-up finalists will hit from a custom-made platform built into the speedway’s grandstands on to a Championship grid on the race track infield below. Bob Papa will provide play-by-play, Michael Breed, host of THE GOLF FIX, will offer analysis on the driving grid, and MORNING DRIVE Co-Host Holly Sonders will handle interviews. 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 rightful home of the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP and everything associated with Long Drivers of America is Golf Channel,' says Sellinger. 'Long Drive is a true international sport and viewers from across the globe will gain an even deeper appreciation for the talent, dedication, and sheer strength of our professionals. These players generate the fastest swing and ball speeds in all of golf, a fact that leaves every level of golfer, from tour professionals to amateurs, in awe.'

'As Golf Channel aims to cover all aspects of golf, long drives are some of the most intriguing and fascinating pursuits of golfers,” said Keith Allo, Golf Channel vice president of Original Productions. “Every golf outing and nearly every amateur foursome will have a long drive competition, but our unique coverage from Las Vegas of the RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP will look to take fans appreciate for the long drive to a new level.”

During Golf Channel’s coverage, viewers will see dramatic qualifying as a field of 192 hopefuls in the Open Division will be whittled down to the final eight finalists, as well as profiles of the golfers that compete and examinations on the science and strategies behind the long ball. Each 60-minute special will premiere on consecutive Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning this Wednesday, Oct. 9.

The schedule is as follows:

Wed., Oct. 9, 9 pm. ET        RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Qualifying

Wed., Oct. 16, 9 p.m. ET     RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Elimination Rounds

Wed., Oct. 23, 9 p.m. ET     RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Semifinals

Wed., Oct. 30, 9 p.m. ET     RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship – Finals (Live)

Two-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion Jamie 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.

Golf Channel will integrate the Long Drive theme into other programming throughout the month. Instructional programs like THE GOLF FIX and SCHOOL OF GOLF will feature long-driving tips in each episode aired during the month, as well as dedicating an entire episode to hitting it farther. The shows also will welcome former World Long Drive Champions like Sadlowski and Joe Miller to share their secrets.

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.