Women’s Division in 2017 to be Seen Live on TV for First Time, and be Represented at Sanctioned Events for First Time in 13 years
Season to Culminate at World Long Drive Championship from WinStar World Casino & Resort, with Live, Primetime Coverage on Golf Channel Sept. 5-6
ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2017) – The sport of Long Drive will expand its presence on television in 2017 with three televised events on Golf Channel, including the season-culminating World Long Drive Championship over two nights in primetime in September, and two additional televised events airing on Golf Channel in June and July. For the first time ever, the Women’s Division will be live on TV, airing on Golf Channel at each of the three televised events, and it marks the first time in 13 years that the Women’s Division will be represented at scheduled Long Drive sanctioned events.
“The increased television exposure for Long Drive speaks to the investment from sponsors helping to fuel its momentum, coupled with Golf Channel’s belief in the long-term potential for this unique aspect of golf and its athletes,” said Phil Piazza, senior vice president, programming for Golf Channel. “Last year the World Long Drive Championship was distributed in 62 countries across the globe, and by tripling the number of televised events in 2017, and showcasing the Women’s Division live on Golf Channel for the first time, viewers will have more opportunities than ever to engage with one of the most electrifying segments of the sport.”
The 2017 Open (Men’s) Division schedule consists of eight qualifying events, with four competitors from each event advancing to the World Championship, which will feature a 96-man field competing for a $270,000 purse. The World Championship will return to WinStar World Casino & Resort (Thackerville, Okla.) for a third consecutive year, following a multi-year extension as the World Championship host site.
“We are thrilled to have the World Long Drive Championship and Golf Channel return to WinStar for a third consecutive year,” said Wayne McCormick, WinStar’s general manager. “At WinStar, we strive to provide a memorable experience for our loyal patrons and the World Long Drive Championship offers just that. Golf fans from all over the country can come out and enjoy a unique televised event that showcases phenomenal athletes.”
2017 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:
|March 24-27||Endless Summer Invitational||Huntington Beach, Calif.|
|April 21-23||East Coast Classic||West Columbia, S.C.|
|May 18-19||WinStar Classic||Thackerville, Okla.|
|June 3-6||TBA (*Golf Channel*)||TBA|
|June 23-25||Bluff City Shootout||Memphis, Tenn.|
|July 6-8||Rockwell Blast||West Bountiful, Utah|
|July 22-25||Mile High Shootout (*Golf Channel*)||Denver, Colo.|
|Aug. 4-6||Catawba Classic||Hickory, N.C.|
|Aug. 31-Sept. 6||World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*)||Thackerville, Okla.|
Points System used to Determine Ranking
All WLDA sanctioned events for the Open Division in 2017 will utilize the Official World Long Drive rankings, with competitors earning an opportunity to accumulate points toward their ranking at each event they play. Events will feature a 32-person field based on the current world ranking.
The eight sanctioned events will award point totals toward official rankings, and those advancing to the World Long Drive Championship will compete under a format that can be viewed by visiting http://www.worldlongdrive.com/2017-world-long-drive-championship/
Rule Change for All Sanctioned Events in 2017
Recently, the WLDA announced a rule change as it relates to club length for all sanctioned events, which states that all clubs used in competition must conform with the USGA® Rules of Golf (Appendix II, 1c) which limits club length to a maximum of 48 inches. The rule will be upheld at all sanctioned events through the use of a CLUBLENGTH™ Ruler Measuring Tool that conforms to the USGA® method for measuring club length. The rule in effect was implemented to allow Long Drive competitors to be held to the same standard of competition as Tour professionals in accordance with the USGA.
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 sport appeals to golfers of all ages, whether you’re a competitor or spectator. The 2017 WLDA season consists of events across the United States and around the world, culminating with the World Long Drive Championship, Aug. 31-Sept. 6, from WinStar World Casino & Resort (Thackerville, Okla.,) where competitors will convene under the lights for the world title on Golf Channel. The adrenaline-infused Championship has been described as “golf’s greatest spectacle,” with competitors routinely hitting drives in excess of 400 yards.
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available in more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and 11 languages around the world. Golf Channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, including tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, The Open, Olympics, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel Digital delivers unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Channel Mobile and the NBC Sports App, both powered by Playmaker Media. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s largest golf course ratings and review resource for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.