FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 19th, 2023
GF SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES WORLD LONG DRIVE, PLDA, INKS DEAL WITH NBC SPORTS ON GOLF CHANNEL
World Long Drive sport unifying and expanding to 18 countries
Press Kit: Click Here
DALLAS, TEXAS (January 19, 2023) – World Long Drive returns in 2023 with new owner GF Sports and Entertainment at the helm, an expanded tour, the largest purse in the competition’s history, and over 50 hours of television coverage over the course of the agreement with 10 aired annually by NBC Sports on GOLF Channel.
The World Long Drive Championship is the largest annual domestic professional golf event not associated with the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, or the LPGA. It was first held in 1974, and since 2000 consisted of Open, Women’s, Seniors (over-45s), and Amateur events.
GF Sports and Entertainment also acquired the Pro Long Drive Association (PLDA) in December 2022. With that acquisition, World Long Drive will now serve as the singular premier long drive tour expanding to 12 events domestically and over 30 events being held by World Long Drive affiliates internationally.
“We are committed to growing the sport of Long Drive and making it a competition where athletes world-wide can make a living with this impressive skill set. With the acquisition of World Long Drive and the PLDA we look forward to expanding the tour, making it larger than it’s ever been, not only domestically but internationally,” said President of GF Sports & Entertainment Shawn Tilger. “To be able to showcase World Long Drive in a five-year deal with GOLF Channel and the commitment of 50 hours of national television programming we know the fandom for the sport is just going to continue to grow.”
The World Long Drive tour tees off March 10-12, in Mesquite, NV, culminating with the Championship October 18-22, at Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta, Georgia.
“World Long Drive is exciting, challenging and fun,” said professional golfer and 2022 PLDA Championship runner-up Bryson DeChambeau. “I started long drive to increase my swing speed and then I got addicted to hitting it farther and farther. I’m looking forward to qualifying for Atlanta and competing on a National stage in 2023.”
Players on the professional circuit will battle for over $1.1 million in cash prizes, the largest prize purse in the tour’s history. Competitors will have the opportunity to qualify for the World Long Drive Championship at eight qualifying North American events, vying for 128 total qualifying spots. Amateur level competitors from all over the world aspiring to join the tour will be able to compete for the opportunity to play in the World Long Drive Championship at select local host ranges. This opportunity is the first of its kind in the sport and makes long drive accessible for competitors not only across the U.S. but in over 18 other countries.
“To say I am thrilled for World Long Drive to be returning to television is an understatement,” said Two-Time World Champion, Current World Record Holder and #1 Ranked World Long Driver Kyle Berkshire. “The sport and its athletes deserve to be showcased on this platform, and I am excited for all of us to deliver many memorable moments and storylines to the viewers over the years to come.”
The 2023 World Long Drive Tour Schedule is as follows:
WLD Hobe Sound
Hobe Sound, FL
WLD La Salle
La Salle, CO
WLD Port Rowan
Port Rowan, Ontario
WLD West Bountiful
West Bountiful, Utah
Kingsport, TN (televised)
September 29-Oct 1
Oceanside, California (televised)
WLD Celebrity ProAm
Atlanta, GA (televised)
Atlanta, GA (televised October 22)
About World Long Drive:
The World Long Drive Championship is the largest annual domestic professional golf event not associated with the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, or the LPGA. It was first held in 1974, and since 2000 consisted of Open, Women’s, Seniors (over-45s), and Amateur events. The World Long Drive tour is comprised of over 12 events domestically and over 30 events internationally all culminating for the season finale World Long Drive Championship. World Long Drive tour and championship is owned and operated by GF Sports and Entertainment based out of New York, NY.
World Long Drive has partnered with PIVOT Agency out of the San Francisco Bay area to reintroduce the brand and sport into the corporate market leveraging partner relationships.
PIVOT Agency was founded in 2013 as a full-service sports marketing agency, built at the nexus of brands and culture, and forming alliances between consumer brands, athletes, sports, the arts, causes, business and media.
About GF Sports and Entertainment:
GF Sports & Entertainment is a global events and operations company that elevates the experience of live sports, entertainment and interactive events. The company owns two of the ATP Tour’s longest running American tennis tournaments, the Dallas Open and the Atlanta Open, as well as the National Lacrosse League New York Riptide. GF Sports & Entertainment also incubates new and emerging sport concepts, this includes Wolf Pack Ninjas, which operates ninja-focused events globally and just completed the purchase of World Long Drive an international long drive tour.
GF Sports & Entertainment was founded in July 2015 by New York-based private equity firm GF Capital. For additional information, please visit www.gfsportsandentertainment.com.