FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
“EXCHANGE CELEBRATING SERVICE: FORT JACKSON” TO INCLUDE FIRST-EVER SANCTIONED MILITARY LONG DRIVE COMPETITION, MAY 5-7 IN SOUTH CAROLINA
David Feherty Contributing to GOLF Channel’s Coverage of Second World Long Drive Tour Event of 2019, Being Held on Fort Jackson (S.C.) Army Base
Competition to Feature Military Division Alongside Open & Women’s Divisions
Event Available via Live Stream to Military Service Members Around the World
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (April 30, 2019) — Next week, World Long Drive will host the Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson, being staged Sunday-Tuesday, May 5-7 at Fort Jackson (South Carolina), and feature – for the first time – a division represented by military service members, in addition to the Open and Women’s Divisions.
Today, it was announced that NBC Sports analyst and Emmy-nominated host David Feherty will contribute to GOLF Channel’s on-site coverage of the event from Fort Jackson, as a passionate advocate for U.S. military service members. Feherty is the co-founder of Feherty’s Troops First Foundation, which was established in 2008 to develop, operate and support wellness, quality of life and event-based initiatives for combat-injured military service members.
“I’m looking forward to being with these soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, especially in this environment alongside some of the longest hitters in the world,” said Feherty. “In my travels through Iraq and Afghanistan, golf was always a common thread. There was a makeshift driving range on every forward operating base, and it was obvious that hitting a golf ball was a way to relieve stress and sometimes boredom. I know I’ll come away from Fort Jackson feeling privileged to have had this experience.”
The Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson event will take place at Fort Jackson Golf Club outside of Columbia, S.C., and marks the second of six televised World Long Drive Tour events in 2019, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September. GOLF Channel’s live telecast of the Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson on Tuesday, May 7 (5-7:30 p.m. ET) will feature the four women, eight men, and four military service members having advanced from preliminary rounds earlier in the competition.
“Victory starts at Fort Jackson, the U.S. Army’s main production center for Basic Combat Training,” said Colonel Mike Scott, Chief Warrior and Family Support, U.S. Army Installation Management Command. “Here at Fort Jackson we receive and take more than 60,000 recruits each year – including 60 percent of all women entering the Army – and teach them how to be a part of the Army team. We are looking forward to hosting the World Long Drive and Military Long Drive competitions.”
LIVE STREAM AVAILABLE TO SERVICE MEMBERS AROUND THE WORLD: In addition to World Long Drive events airing on GOLF Channel and Sky Sports Golf in 2019, the Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson will be made available to service members around the world in real-time through a live streaming platform. Courtesy of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, service members will be able to access the live stream through a custom authentication platform via ShopMyExchange.com. World Long Drive’s international audience includes airing events in 66 countries in 2018.
“The Exchange is honored to partner with World Long Drive to celebrate our Nation’s heroes,” said Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull. “The competition fits in with Exchange’s commitment to military readiness and resiliency.”
MILITARY DIVISION QUALIFIERS: The Military Division will consist of 12 men having advanced from a dozen preliminary qualifying events at U.S. Army bases around the country, which were open to all active, reserve and retired Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy service members. The winner of the Military Division in Fort Jackson will earn an exemption into the field at the 2019 Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September. The 12-man Military Division field consists of those having won one of the dozen qualifying events at U.S. Army installations during March-April:
LOCATION QUALIFIER WINNER MILITARY AFFILIATION QUALIFYING YARDAGE
March 30 – Fort Jackson (SC) Jake Taylor Marine Corps (Retired) 335 yards
April 2 – Fort Benning (GA) Rob Wolfenden Army 339 yards
April 6 – Fort Bliss (TX) Chand Duncan Army National Guard 382 yards
April 8 – Fort Hood (TX) Jay Milinichik Marines Corps (Retired) 341 yards
April 10 – Joint Base Lewis-McChord (WA) Robert Watry Army 332 yards
April 13 – Fort Belvoir (VA) Ryan Hixon Coast Guard 346 yards
April 14 – Fort Lee (VA) Mike King Army 337 yards
April 15 – Fort Sill (OK) Chris MacMurray Army 299 yards
April 17 – Aberdeen Proving Ground (MD) Zack Rudy Coast Guard 298 yards
April 20 – Fort Carson (CO) Tyler Jeffers Air Force 388 yards
April 20 – Fort Campbell (KY-TN) Mikael Dubois Air Force National Guard 351 yards
April 27 – Fort Bragg (NC) Johnny Kozlowski Navy 369 yards
The Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson follows the surging start to the World Long Drive season earlier this month at the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun in Arizona, where Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand) and Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.) claimed the first victories of the year, with towering winning drives of 413 and 474 yards respectively. The Open Division field at Fort Jackson will consist of reigning Volvik World Long Drive champion Maurice Allen (Pine Hills, Fla.); current No. 1 in the world Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.); and Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.), three-time Tour event winner in 2018. World No. 1 Meti leads the Women’s Division, where she’ll be joined by five-time world champion Sandra Carlborg (Alingsas, Sweden).
COVERAGE & BROADCAST TEAM: World Long Drive events airing on GOLF Channel in 2019 will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two crane cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the hitter’s clubface. Telecasts also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the exorbitant swing data typically generated by hitters, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Trackman technology also will provide 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 analyst Art Sellinger , World Long Drive pioneer and two-time world champion (1986, ’91). GOLF Channel reporter Jerry Foltz will offer insight from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with hitters taking part in the competition, while David Feherty will focus on the respective service members in the Military Division, and provide color on Fort Jackson as a venue.
DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay connected to the action surrounding World Long Drive 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 at each event in 2019, and live telecasts will integrate social media-generated content through 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 events telecasts.
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 the United States and around the world, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, from WinStar World Casino and Resort on the Texas / Oklahoma border, where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title on Golf Channel. In 2018, 8.3 million unique viewers watched at least some portion of World Long Drive events (live and replay), +23% year-over-year, and the most-viewed season of World Long Drive on-record according to data released by The Nielsen Company.