October is Long Drive Month on Golf Channel, Led by Back-to-Back Nights of 2015 World Long Drive Championship Oct. 20-21

By Golf Channel Public RelationsOctober 1, 2015, 2:05 pm

Golf Channel Featuring Long Drive Themed Programming

Across News, Instruction and Digital Platforms Throughout the Month

Swing speeds in excess of 140 mph and drives that eclipse 400 yards will be par for the course, as Golf Channel once again will celebrate “Long Drive Month” in October. The month of programming will be highlighted by back-to-back nights of the World Long Drive Championship, Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 20-21, live and under the lights from WinStar World Casino and Resort. Throughout the month, Golf Channel also will integrate the long drive theme into its instruction, news and digital programming to celebrate the long ball.

2015 WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP: The cornerstone of Long Drive Month will center around the World Long Drive Championship, with Golf Channel airing live coverage across consecutive nights to ultimately crown the longest golfer in the world. The 64-man match play bracket – being implemented this year for the first time – will play out during Golf Channel’s coverage featuring the round of 16 being narrowed down to eight competitors on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and the remaining eight dueling for the first place prize and $250,000 purse on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Golf Channel’s expanded coverage of the Championship also will include news and results of the qualifying rounds, Oct. 14-19, leading up to live coverage on Oct. 20-21. New to 2015, competitors will have 2 minutes, 45 seconds to hit their drives in each round, and the player who is trailing in the match will have an opportunity to hit one final ball past their opponent’s to try and advance to the next round in the bracket.

BROADCAST TEAM: Golf Channel’s Ryan Burr will provide play-by-play; Michael Breed, host of The Golf Fix, will serve as analyst; and Angela Hamann 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.

LONG DRIVE MONTH THEMED PROGRAMMING: Golf Channel will integrate the long drive theme across its instructional and news programming featuring long-driving tips and other dedicated segments throughout the month. The shows also will welcome Long Drive competitors to share their secrets:

  • School of Golf, Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. ETCo-hosts Martin Hall and Blair O’Neal will demonstrate how viewers can learn from Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jason Day and the PGA TOUR’s longest drivers and apply it to their own game.
  • Playing Lessons, Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. ET: Shot in Southern California, World Long Drive champions Joe Miller and Jamie Sadlowski will join host Charlie Rymer to offer insight on how to hit it long, tips on increasing your distance.
  • The Golf Fix, Monday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. ET: Show host Michael Breed (and Long Drive Championship analyst) will be on-site at WinStar World Casino and Resort and will be joined by Long Drive competitors in the field. The show will focus on the simple adjustments amateur golfers can make to add distance to their drives and uncover what the longest hitters on the PGA TOUR have in common.
  • Champions Tour Learning Center, Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m. ET: Two-time Long Drive champion Art Sellinger will join the legends of the game on a special edition of Champions Tour Learning Center. Sellinger will interact with Champions Tour players and share his secrets to hitting it long off the tee.  
  • Morning Drive: Morning Drive will feature dedicated segments on hitting the ball longer, and welcome Long Drive participants on the show ahead of the World Long Drive Championship. Over the past several weeks, Long Drive competitors Jeff Flagg (2014 champion), Jeff Crittenden (2014 runner-up) and Tim Burke (2013 champion) have joined the program to discuss how they are preparing for this year’s event. Angela Hamann also will provide live updates on-site during the week of the Championship.
  • Golf Central: Golf Channel’s evening news program will feature segments focusing on the longest drives of the week on Tour. Golf Central also will feature an exclusive interview with 2014 Long Drive Championship winner Jeff Flagg leading up his title defense on Oct. 20-21.
  • Golf Channel Academy Mobile App: During the final six days leading into Golf Channel’s coverage of the World Long Drive Championship Oct. 20-21, the Golf Channel Academy instruction mobile app will debut a new Long Drive tip, with three tips from Hall and O’Neal, and three tips from Breed.

With Golf Channel’s commitment to showcasing one of golf’s most dynamic aspects and its elite Long Drive competitors, the network will add the World Long Drive Championship and Long Drivers of America to its family of golf lifestyle businesses. With this addition to Golf Channel’s portfolio, the network will continue to partner with Art Sellinger to develop new event and programming initiatives.

“Hitting it long is arguably one of the most fascinating shots in golf, and these athletes who spend 365 days a year training to compete at the highest level each have fascinating stories themselves,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice presidents of programming, Golf Channel. “Our viewers can’t get enough live golf, and events like these put a Championship belt on the line in primetime, under the lights in a spectacular pressure-filled setting.”

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.