World No. 2 Will Hogue (Three-time Tour Event winner in 2018) & Two-
Time World Champion Tim Burke Lead Open (Men’s) Division Field;
Two-time World Champion Phillis Meti Aiming for Third Women’s Title
Eddie Fernandes Wins Masters Division World Championship
THACKERVILLE, Okla. (Sept. 5, 2018) – Eight men and four women tonight will be vying for the coveted championship belt and the title of the longest hitter in golf, as the 43rd Volvik World Long Drive Championship culminates under the lights and in primetime live on Golf Channel at 9 p.m. ET. Leading the field of eight remaining men in the Open Division include World No. 2 ranked competitor (and three-time Tour event winner in 2018) Will Hogue, who is looking to win his first world championship, along with two-time world champion Tim Burke, who is seeking his third championship belt. In the Women’s Division, two-time world champion Phillis Meti is hoping to capture her second world title in three years, and third overall. She’ll go up against fellow world champion Heather Manfredda, along with Chloe Garner and Emily Tubert, who earned her first World Long Drive victory last month.
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. Tonight’s telecast will feature the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches in the Open Division, along with the Women’s Division’s semifinal and championship matches:
OPEN DIVISION QUARTERFINAL MATCHES (Seeds based on World Ranking):
WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES:
FERNANDES WINS MASTERS DIVISION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: In addition to the Open Division Round of 16 matches, Tuesday night’s live telecast also saw Eddie Fernandes (Winter Garden, Fla.) defeat Jeff Gavin (Stoney Creek, Ont., Canada) in the championship match of the Masters Division (age 45+) to claim his first-ever world championship. The 47-year-old Fernandes became emotional while accepting the championship belt afterward in paying respect to those who helped him to victory.
RECAP – TUESDAY NIGHT’S ROUND OF 16: The eight men that will be on display tonight each were able to win their Round of 16 match on Tuesday. Highlights:
- Hogue advances on 394-yard smash
- Moose moves on to quarterfinals after 404-yard drive
- Waldron advances after Berkshire gets shut out
- Steenberg tops Tuaone on first swing
- Cassaday moves on with 390-yard blast
- Burke busts 397-yard ball to advance
- Costello knocks out Gavin on two swings
- Allen edges Kelly by two yards
WRAPAROUND NEWS AND LIVE COVERAGE: Golf Central will preview the Championship tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET, prior to the live competition getting underway at 9 p.m. ET.
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. WorldLongDrive.com 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|
ABOUT WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION
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).
ABOUT WINSTAR WORLD CASINO AND RESORT
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-NBC Sports Group-