Friday, August 30, 2019

World Long Drive sets final 2019 event

GOLF’S LONGEST HITTERS CONVENE FOR 44TH WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP, TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3-4 AT 8:30 P.M. ET LIVE ON GOLF CHANNEL

Additional World Long Drive-Themed Content led by GOLF Channel Analyst Brandel Chamblee “Swing Breakdowns” & LPGA Long Drive Competition

Open Division Led by No. 1 Kyle Berkshire & Two-Time World Champ Tim Burke; Defending Champ (and No. 1) Phillis Meti Leads Women’s Division

Season-Culminating Event Airing Live in Primetime Under the Lights to Award Signature World Title Belts to Open, Women’s and Masters Divisions

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2019) World Long Drive stages its season-culminating event beginning this weekend, as competitors convene on the Texas/Oklahoma border for the 44th edition of the World Long Drive Championship, which will culminate live in primetime on GOLF Channel, Tuesday-Wednesday (Sept. 3-4) at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Originating in 1976, the 2019 World Long Drive Championship marks the sixth televised event of the year, and will be contested at WinStar World Casino and Resort for the fifth consecutive time. The world championship will be televised in more than 60 countries around the world, including live on GOLF Channel in North America and on Sky Sports Golf in the United Kingdom.

“This is shaping up to be the most-competitive world championship we’ve ever had,” said Jonathan Coachman, play-by-play host for World Long Drive telecasts on GOLF Channel. “Having said that, there is a clear-cut favorite in both the Open and Women’s Divisions. Kyle Berkshire has established himself not only as the No. 1 hitter, but also as the most consistent and dominant competitor. On the women’s side – with the season she’s had – I would be shocked if Phillis Meti doesn’t walk away with a fourth world championship title.”

LIVE COVERAGE IN PRIMETIME ON TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY: Tuesday night’s telecast will feature the Open Division’s Round of 16 head-to-head matches, the Women’s Division quarterfinal matches, along with the Masters Division championship match. Wednesday’s live telecast will include the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches for the Open Division, along with the semifinal and championship matches in the Women’s Division.

BRANDEL CHAMBLEE OFFERS “SWING BREAKDOWNS” FOR WLD HITTERS: In advance of the world championship, GOLF Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee recorded a series of swing breakdowns, analyzing the unique characteristics associated with some of leading performers on the World Long Drive circuit. Utilizing a dedicated “film room” style setting, “Brandel’s Breakdowns” will be utilized across the network’s digital, social media and on-air platforms leading up to the live telecasts next week. Chamblee’s analysis of Kyle Berkshire’s swing – No. 1 ranked hitter in the Open Division – was released earlier today.

FIELD VYING FOR COVETED WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BELT: The event will showcase three respective divisions (Open – Men’s, Women’s, Masters – Age 45+) with competitors comprising 14 countries around the globe. Those in the field will be hoping to add their name to the select club of world champions alongside icons of the sport like Sean Fister, Stacey Shinnick, Evan Williams and Jason Zuback.

The Open Division will include a 96-man field featuring five past world champions and is led by current No. 1 in the World Long Drive rankings and two-time tour event winner in 2019, Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.). Joining Berkshire will be two-time world champion and current No. 2 ranked competitor Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.), along with No. 4 Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.), the 2017 World Long Drive champion, and No. 7Maurice Allen (Pine Hills, Fla.), who will defend his 2018 world championship title. Three-time (and defending) world champion Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand) leads a Women’s Division field as the No. 1 ranked competitor in the world with three tour event victories in 2019. Meti will be joined by No. 2 Sandra Carlborg (Alingsas, Sweden), a five-time world champion, along with No. 3 Chloe Garner (Somerset West, South Africa), No. 4 Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.) and No. 6 Heather Lynne Manfredda (St. Augustine, Fla.), winner of the 2013 World Long Drive Championship. Eddie Fernandes (Winter Garden, Fla.) will defend his 2018 title in the Masters Division, and be joined by 2014 Masters Division world champion Jeff Gavin(Hamilton, Ont., Canada).

WRAPAROUND NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Central will preview the world championship on Tuesday and Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET, prior to the live competition getting underway at 8:30 p.m. ET. Morning Drivealso will feature interviews and dedicated segments showcasing competitors on-site leading up to live coverage of the competition.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP-THEMED PROGRAMMING & CONTENT: In addition to the series of “Brandel’s Breakdowns,” video excerpts that will be utilized across GOLF Channel’s platforms, the network will integrate World Long Drive Championship-themed content across its instructional, news, digital and social platforms. Featuring dedicated segments and unique content in anticipation of the 44th annual edition of the championship, planned integrations include:

  • LPGA Tour “Long Drive” Competition Between Anne Van Dam & Angel Yin: Yesterday ahead of the Cambia Portland Classic, Anne Van Dam and Angel Yin – arguably the two longest players on the LPGA Tour – squared off in a Solheim Cup-style preview match to try and settle who is truly the LPGA’s longest hitter. A recap of the long drive competition will be shown during Thursday’s live tournament coverage from Portland, which also will feature an appearance from No. 1 ranked Phillis Meti.
  • School of Golf, Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. ET: Phillis Meti also will join Martin Hall and Blair O’Neal on School of Golf at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Meti will help demonstrate the keys to how she creates power in the downswing, at impact and in her follow through.
  • PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center, Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. ET: Airing tonight at 7 p.m. ET, a new episode of PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center profiles the friendship between Rocco Mediate and 2018 World Long Drive Championship runner-up, Justin Moose. Mediate recounts his initial impression of the No. 6 ranked World Long Driver’s power, which he discovered while Moose was caddying for Mediate years ago in their native Western Pennsylvania.
  • Morning Drive: A collection of World Long Drive hitters will be featured on Morning Drive in the lead-up to and throughout the competition. Reigning world champions Meti (Women’s Division) and Eddie Fernandes (Masters Division) joined the show this week to discuss their preparation ahead of trying to defend next week.
  • Golf Central: GOLF Channel’s evening news program will feature daily updates during the course of the world championship beginning on Sunday, Sept. 1. Defending world champion Maurice Allen (Open Division) also joined Golf Central on Tuesday to preview his title defense. GOLF Channel’s Chantel McCabe also will report from on-site at the World Long Drive Championship on Tuesday-Wednesday, previewing and recapping the televised matches in addition to conducting interviews with those in the field.
  • GOLFPASS to Feature World Long Drive Speed Rounds: Beginning this week, GOLFPASS will begin showcasing “speed rounds” of World Long Drive tour events. Available exclusively to GOLFPASS members, previous World Long Drive competitions will be presented in a condensed format, allowing members to watch the entirety of a competition in under 30 minutes.

TECHNOLOGY-ENHANCED PRODUCTION: The production centering around live coverage of the 44th World Long Drive Championship will utilize 12 dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including two SuperMo cameras and two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. The telecast also will feature a telestrator, along with a custom graphics package suited to the exorbitant swing data typically generated by hitters, tracking club speed, ball speed and spin rate in real-time via Trackman. Trackman technology also provides viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracing the arc of each drive from the moment of impact.

Veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will call play-by-play and be joined by Art Sellinger – World Long Drive pioneer and two-time world champion (1986. ’91), who will provide analysis. GOLF Channel’s Jerry Foltz will serve as a reporter, offering insight from the teeing platform and conducting interviews with hitters taking part in the competition. Chantel McCabe also will be on-site reporting for Golf Central.

DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay connected to the action surrounding the 44th World Long Drive Championship by following @WorldLongDrive and @GOLFChannel on social media. GOLF Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin also will be on-site contributing to the social conversation as the world championship unfolds, and the live telecasts will integrate social media-generated content via the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive. In addition to the latest video and highlights from on-site, WorldLongDrive.com will feature expanded editorial coverage and real-time scoring for the duration of the event. GOLF Channel Digital also will feature content leading up to and immediately following the event telecast.

2019 WORLD LONG DRIVE – TOUR EVENT SCHEDULE:

DATE

EVENT

LOCATION

WINNERS

April 13-16

Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun

Maricopa, Ariz.

Phillis Meti, Tim Burke

May 5-7

Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson, S.C.

Chloe Garner, Ryan Steenberg, Mikael Dubois

June 3-5

Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash

Atlantic City, N.J.

Phillis Meti, Tim Burke

July 20-24

ROC City Rumble

Rochester, N.Y.

Phillis Meti, Kyle Berkshire

Aug. 10-12

Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital

Kingsport, Tenn.

Alexis Belton, Kyle Berkshire

Aug. 30-Sept. 4

44th World Long Drive Championship

Texas/Oklahoma Border

TBD

ABOUT WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION
Originating in 1976, the World Long Drive Association is golf at its farthest, loudest, most athletic and adrenaline-filled extreme. World Long Drive was named a finalist at the 2018 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in the League of the Year for a Breakthrough Sport and Live Coverage of a Breakthrough Sport categories. The broader sports industry also has taken notice, including ESPN proclaiming that long drive has “recently started to enter the mainstream of golf;” Men’s Journal noting “with the sport’s ascendant profile and ever-growing prestige,” fans should “buckle up for more high-octane action;” Golf Digest saying the World Long Drive is “on the upswing, gaining traction;” and
Golf.com claiming it as “an eye-opening experience”. Sanctioned WLD events are open to amateur and professional golfers. The 2019 WLDA season consists of events across North America and around the world, culminating with the World Long Drive Championship, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, on the Texas / Oklahoma border, where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title live on GOLF Channel. World Long Drive events can be seen on television in more than 60 countries, including GOLF Channel, NBC Sports Network and NBC in the United States, and Sky Sports Golf in the United Kingdom. In 2018, 8.3 million unique viewers watched at least some portion of World Long Drive events (live and replay) across NBC Sports Group, +23% year-over-year, and the most-viewed season of World Long Drive on-record according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

Media Contact:
Jeff Szklinski
Golf Channel Communications
814-880-6933
Jeff.Szklinski@golfchannel.com