TV Picks: For the men who live to hit it long, the culmination of a dream can be realized on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, when eight of the longest hitters in the world will showcase the raw power that each hopes will earn him the championship belt and the winner-take-all prize of $250,000 at the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, airing live on Golf Channel at 10 p.m. ET.
The two-hour, live finale will originate from a competition set at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort (pictured below), where the finalists will hit their drives – requiring both distance and accuracy – in excess of 400 yards from a custom-made platform on to a Championship grid surrounded by thousands of spirited fans.
“There’s a lot at stake and a ton of pressure, so watching which one of these players can fight through his nerves and emotions to capture a world championship will make for a very compelling competition,” said Keith Allo, vice president of Original Productions, Golf Channel. “Add the lights, Las Vegas, head-to-head competition and the live ‘perform or go home’ atmosphere, and this will be high-drama at its best.”
The RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship identifies the longest golfer on earth and offers sports fans a chance to witness players who generate mammoth swing speeds of 150 mph and ball speeds of 220 mph. In comparison, the highest average swing speed on the PGA TOUR last season was 124 mph generated by Bubba Watson. His fastest swing of the year was 127 mph. Long drive athletes train and prepare all year for the chance to take a swing at becoming the World Long Drive Champion. Specialized training allows long drive athletes to generate maximum ball and swing speeds, and focus solely on maximizing distance during competition. The golf equipment used in Long Drive competition conforms to regulations for all golfers set forth by the United States Golf Association.
Golf Channel anchor Ryan Burr will provide play-by-play; Michael Breed, host of The Golf Fix, will offer analysis on the driving grid; and Lauren Thompson, co-host of Morning Drive, will handle interviews. Art Sellinger, long-drive pioneer, two-time national long-drive champion and owner of the Long Drivers of America, also will be on hand to provide long drive analysis.
The longest eight golfers on Earth competing will be:
- Daniel Beckman, 30, Fresno, California
- Jeff Crittenden, 43, Greensboro, North Carolina
- Jeff Flagg, 29, Pelham, Alabama
- Matt Hanger, 30, Anaheim, California
- Joe Miller, 29, London, England
- Connor Powers, 30, Naperville, Illinois
- Jamie Sadlowski , 26, St. Paul, Alberta, Canada
- Adam Smith, 24, Tomball, Texas
Miller won the world title in 2010 and was undefeated in 2014 on the Long Drivers European Tour, where he has captured 12 titles. He finished as the runner-up at the 2013 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship to Tim Burke, who hit a world-record drive of 427 yards to win the title. Burke failed to qualify for a return trip to Las Vegas. Sadlowski, who famously broke two simulators during appearances on Golf Channel, is a two-time world champion and is making his eighth-straight appearance in the final – the longest active streak.
The head-to-head format will provide some dramatic pairings from the beginning of the show, including former World Champions Joe Miller and Jamie Sadlowski going up against each other in what could be one of the most exciting matches of the night. Players are allowed six shots in each match, played three at a time. The highest-seeded player gets to choose to hit first or second.
- Match 1: Matt Hanger vs. Jeff Crittenden
- Match 2: Joe Miller vs. Jamie Sadlowski
- Match 3: Jeff Flagg vs. Daniel Beckman
- Match 4: Adam Smith vs. Connor Powers
In October 2012, Long Drivers of America announced a new, three-year broadcast partnership with Golf Channel, which moved the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship to air live on the network after 17 years on ESPN. This annual world championship of long driving has taken place each year since 1975 and attracts competitors from all over the world. Participation in competitions has nearly tripled and prize money has increased five-fold.
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Golf Channel, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes and 83 countries worldwide.
Long Drivers of America is a dynamic golf event company that specializes in producing events for long drive professionals. The company is owned and operated by long drive pioneer Art Sellinger. Founded in 1995 and based in Roanoke, Texas, LDA is best known for staging the annual RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, the premier event in power golf. For more information, visit www.longdrivers.com and follow @LongDriversUSA and Facebook.com/LongDrivers.