Tuesday, September 4th, 2018


Airing Back-to-Back Nights Live on Golf Channel Tuesday-Wednesday;

Will Award World Championship Belts to Open, Women’s, Masters Divisions


Open Division Field Led by Six of Top Seven in World Long Drive Rankings;

Masters Division Champion to be Decided During Tonight’s Telecast


THACKERVILLE, Okla. (Sept. 4, 2018) – Sixteen of the longest hitters in golf will be on display tonight, as the World Long Drive Association presents the 43rd edition of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, airing live in primetime on Golf Channel at 9 p.m. ET. The first of back-to-back nights live on Golf Channel, tonight’s telecast will feature the eight head-to-head matches in the Open (Men’s) Division’s Round of 16, along with the championship match in the Masters (age 45+) Division. The Open Division field features six of the top seven competitors in the World Long Drive rankings, including: Will Hogue (No. 2), Maurice Allen (No. 3), Ryan Reisbeck (No. 4), Ryan Steenberg (No. 5), Kyle Berkshire (No. 6) and Tim Burke (No. 7).


Originating in 1976, the 2018 Volvik World Long Drive Championship marks the fifth televised WLDA event of the year, and is being contested on the Texas / Oklahoma border at WinStar World Casino and Resort, which hosts the event for the fourth consecutive year.


OPEN DIVISION ROUND OF 16 MATCHES (Seeds based on World Ranking):

(1) Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. (16) Teemu Pitkanen (Turku, Finland)

(8) Justin Moose (Columbia, S.C.) vs. (9) Kevin Shook (Brandenton, Fla.)

(5) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.) vs. (12) Jim Waldron (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

(4) Ryan Steenberg (Rochester, N.Y.) vs. (13) Ben Tuaone (Salt Lake City, Utah)

(3) Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah) vs. (14) Josh Cassaday (Denver, Colo.)

(6) Tim Burke (Orlando, Fla.) vs. (11) Stephen Kois (Wheaton, Ill.)

(7) Jeff Gavin (Hamilton, Ont., Canada) vs. (10) Mark Costello (Houston, Texas)

(2) Maurice Allen (Pine Hills, Fla.) vs. (15) Bryan Kelly (Rockwell, Texas)



Eddie Fernandes (Winter Garden, Fla.) vs. Jeff Gavin (Hamilton, Ont., Canada)



While the Masters Division champion will be decided during tonight’s live telecast, both the Open and Women’s Division competitions will culminate on Wednesday night. Coverage on Wednesday will feature the Open Division quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches, along with the Women’s Division semifinal and championship matches, awarding the accompanying coveted world championship belts.


WRAPAROUND NEWS AND LIVE COVERAGE: Golf Central will preview the Championship tonight and Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET, prior to the live competition getting underway at 9 p.m. ET. Morning Drive also will feature interviews and dedicated segments showcasing competitors on-site leading up to live coverage of the competition.


TECHNOLOGY-ENHANCED PRODUCTION: The production centering around live coverage of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship will utilize 13 dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including two SuperMo cameras as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. An overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” (similar to the “1st & 10 line” made popular in football) will display the longest drive during a given match to signify the driving distance an opposing competitor will need to surpass to take the lead. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by World Long Drive competitors, 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.


BROADCAST TEAM: Veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will conduct play-by-play alongside Art Sellinger, World Long Drive pioneer and two-time world champion (1986, ’91). Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will offer reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field during live coverage of the competition, while George Savaricas will report from on-site for Golf Central.


DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Volvik World Long Drive Championship by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will be on-site contributing to the social conversation as the World Championship unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage tonight and Wednesday, using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive. Additional custom-content will be shared via World Long Drive and Golf Channel’s digital and social media platforms leading up to the World Championship, featuring insight from some of the top competitors previewing the event in one-on-one interviews with Coachman. also will feature the latest video and highlights from on-site, along with real-time scoring for the duration of the event.


2018 WLDA VIEWERSHIP, SEASON RECAP: Ahead of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, the World Long Drive Association has accounted for nearly 6 million viewers year-to-date, +70% vs. 2017 (prior to the World Championship). Event winners over the course of the season heading into the World Championship include:


March 15-17 East Coast Classic West Columbia, S.C. Justin Moose
April 21-24 Clash in the Canyon (*Golf Channel*) Mesquite, Nev. Alexis Belton, Will Hogue
May 11-15 Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun (*Golf Channel*) Maricopa, Ariz. Phillis Meti, Will Hogue
June 4-5 Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash (*Golf Channel*) Atlantic City, N.J. Sandra Carlborg, Mark Costello
June 21-23 Bluff City Shootout Memphis, Tenn. Will Hogue
July 6-8 Bash For Cash Port Rowan, Ont., Canada Ryan Steenberg
August 2-4 WinStar Midwest Slam Thackerville, Okla. Kyle Berkshire
August 12-13 Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital (*Golf Channel*) Kingsport, Tenn. Emily Tubert, Justin James
September 1-5 Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*) Thackerville, Okla. TBD



Originating in 1976, 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 – 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 – sanctioned Long Drive events are open to amateur and professional golfers. With an Open Division, Women’s Division and Masters Division (Ages 45+), the sport appeals to golfers of all ages. The 2018 WLDA season consists of events across the United States and around the world, culminating with the Volvik World Long Drive Championship, Sept. 1-5, 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 2017, World Long Drive coverage on Golf Channel featured three televised events, and across all telecasts (live and replay) airing across Golf Channel and NBC, 6.4 million unique viewers watched at least some portion of World Long Drive events, +295% vs. 2016, and the most-viewed season of World Long Drive on record (2013-2017, according to data released by The Nielsen Company).



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-NBC Sports Group-