Airing Live on Golf Channel, Fourth Televised Event of 2018 is Final Tour
Stop Prior to Season-Culminating Volvik World Long Drive Championship
Field Boasts Six of Top-10 in World Led by No. 1 Justin James, Three-Time
2018 Winner Will Hogue; & Two-time World Champion Phillis Meti
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (Aug. 13, 2018) – The World Long Drive Association (WLDA) season continues tonight with the Tennessee Big Shots benefiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital, airing live at 6 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. The live telecast will showcase the eight men and four women having advanced from preliminary rounds where they’ll compete in single-elimination matches until respective champions are crowned. The Open (Men’s) Division field will feature six of the top-nine competitors in the World Long Drive rankings, including No. 1 Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) along with Will Hogue (Memphis, Tenn.), who has accumulated three wins to-date in 2018. The Women’s Division will feature two-time world champion Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand) and Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.,) who won the Clash in the Canyon earlier this year. Chloe Garner (Johnson City, Tenn.,) also is returning from injury in her first competition of 2018 in what will be a de-facto “home game,” while LPGA Tour player Emily Tubert (Burbank, Calif.) is the fourth semifinalist, competing in her first-ever WLDA competition.
“We’ve finally reached the home stretch of the season,” said Jonathan Coachman, play-by-play host for World Long Drive Association events on Golf Channel. “With the World Championship only weeks away, the competitors understand the need to be on their game. I’ve always said that champions show up anytime, anywhere, for anything. They better have that mind-set, beginning with tonight’s Tennessee Big Shots.”
OPEN DIVISION QUARTERFINAL MATCHES (Seeded by world ranking):
WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES:
Chloe Garner (Johnson City, Tenn.) vs. Emily Tubert (Burbank, Calif.)
Being staged from Cattails at Meadowview Golf Course in Kingsport, Tenn., the inaugural event – in partnership with Ballad Health’s Niswonger Children’s Hospital – is the fourth WLDA event of 2018 scheduled to air live on Golf Channel. Tennessee Big Shots is being contested in association with the Niswonger Children’s Hospital Classic. The event also marks the penultimate WLDA competition of the year, with the season-culminating Volvik World Long Drive Championship taking place Aug. 30-Sept. 5.
COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Tennessee Big Shots will air on Golf Channel from 6-8 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 13, with Golf Central previewing the event from 5-6 p.m. ET. Encore showings of the competition are scheduled to air on Golf Channel following the live telecast, from 10 p.m.-Midnight ET and 12:30-2:30 a.m. ET.
The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera 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 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.
DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Tennessee Big Shots 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 event unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.
Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Tennessee Big Shots leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.
2018 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:
|DATE||EVENT||LOCATION||WINNER(S) / DEFENDING CHAMP|
|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.||(New Event)|
|September 1-5||Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*)||Thackerville, Okla.||Sandra Carlborg, Justin James|
Showcasing the truly global nature of World Long Drive, several events throughout 2018 are staged through officially sanctioned WLDA international partners, including stops in Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, along with an all-encompassing international qualifier for the Open Division of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.
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 – 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 & Resort on the Oklahoma / Texas 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).
-NBC Sports Group-