FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

EIGHT MEN, FOUR WOMEN VYING FOR VOLVIK WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP BELTS, TONIGHT AT 9 P.M. ET UNDER THE LIGHTS ON GOLF CHANNEL

Women’s Division to Crown World Champion Live on Television for First Time 

Overnight Rating for Tuesday Telecast Up 9% Year-Over-Year  

THACKERVILLE, OKLA. (Sept. 6, 2017) – Eight men and four women tonight will be vying for the title of the longest hitter in golf and the coveted belt, as the Volvik World Long Drive Championship culminates under the lights and in primetime on Golf Channel, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Phillis Meti is looking to defend her 2016 title, as the Women’s Division will be showcased live on television for the first time ever at the event, while two-time World Champion Tim Burke and the highest remaining seed in the event – Justin James – lead the Open (Men’s) Division quarterfinalists.

VIEWERSHIP: Tuesday night’s telecast earned a .12 Overnight Rating, up 9% year-over-year vs. the same Tuesday telecast in 2016 (according to data released by The Nielsen Company). Underscoring the global nature of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, the event – in addition to a North American-audience via Golf Channel – is being distributed to more than 300 million homes in 65 countries around the world.

The Open Division will showcase the quarterfinals, semifinals and Championship match during tonight’s telecast, while the Women’s Division will feature the semifinals and Championship match:

OPEN DIVISION (MEN’S) QUARTERFINAL MATCHES:
(9) Mitch Grassing (Ottawa, Ont., Canada) vs. (16) Wes Patterson (St. Louis, Mo.)
(4) Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.) vs. (12) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.)
(2) Justin James (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) vs. (7) Paul Howell (Wilson, N.C.)
(3) Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. (11) Nick Kiefer (Chicago, Ill.)

WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES:
(2) Sandra Carlborg (Alingsas, Sweden) vs. (6) Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.)
(4) Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand) vs. (8) Heather Manfredda (League City, Texas)

The ‘Round of 16’ on Tuesday night saw several “upsets,” with the lower seed advancing in four of the eight matches. The first and final matches of the night respectively saw the 16th-seeded Wes Patterson take down World No. 2 Ryan Reisbeck – the highest remaining seed going into the night – and Nick Kiefer knock out the defending World Champion, Joe Miller. Burke advanced to the quarterfinals by the slimmest of margins, with a drive of 415 yards that edged out Stephen Kois by a mere nine inches.

CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT: Competitors in each match tonight will compete head-to-head in two alternating 90-second sets with an opportunity to hit four balls in each set.

COVERAGE: Live coverage of the 2017 Volvik World Long Drive Championship from WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., will air from 9-11 p.m. ET tonight. Golf Central will preview live event coverage, with a special one 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 TONIGHT: Renowned musician, Colt Ford, will be on-site at WinStar’s golf facility tonight 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.

2017 WLDA SEASON RECAP: The Volvik World Long Drive Championship serves 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.