Eight men and four women have advanced to compete in tonight’s live telecast of the Clash in the Canyon World Long Drive Association (WLDA) event, airing in primetime from Mesquite, Nevada, at 7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. In partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada and taking place at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex, the group of competitors headlining the first televised WLDA event of 2018 are World No. 1 Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.), defending Clash in the Canyon champion Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah), and 2013 Volvik World Long Drive champion Heather Manfredda (Shelbyville, Ky.)
OPEN DIVISION QUARTERFINAL MATCHES (Seeded by World Long Drive Ranking)
(1) Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) vs. (30) Jim Waldron (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
(8) Ryan Steenberg (Rochester, N.Y.) vs. (14) Justin Moose (Columbia, S.C.)
(6) Will Hogue (Collierville, Tenn.) vs. (15) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.)
(3) Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah) vs. (18) Nick Kiefer (Chicago, Ill.)
WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES
(4) Alex Phillips (Las Vegas, Nev.) vs. (8) Troy Mullins (Los Angeles, Calif.)
(2) Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.) vs. (6) Heather Manfredda (Shelbyville, Ky.)
A familiar setting in World Long Drive, Mesquite previously hosted the Volvik World Long Drive Championship and a number of qualifying events dating back to 1997, including the World Championship having been staged at the same venue as the Clash in the Canyon from 2008-2012.
FORMAT: The eight men advanced from Monday’s preliminary rounds that featured a 36-man field and will compete within a single-elimination match play bracket during tonight’s live telecast. The four women advancing from this morning’s preliminary rounds (18-person field) also will utilize a single elimination match play bracket this evening to crown a champion.
COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Clash in the Canyon will air in primetime on Golf Channel from 7-9 p.m. ET tonight, with Golf Central previewing the event from 6-7 p.m. ET. An encore telecast also is scheduled to air later this evening on Golf Channel from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET. Fans also can stream the event live using the Golf Channel Mobile App, or on GolfChannel.com.
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. New to 2018 will be an overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” (similar to the “1st & 10 line” made popular in football) displaying 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: A new voice to World Long Drive, veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will conduct play-by-play at each of the five WLDA televised events on Golf Channel in 2018, beginning with the Clash in the Canyon. Art Sellinger – World Long Drive pioneer and two-time World champion – will provide analysis, and 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 Clash in the Canyon by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin is on-site, contributing to the social conversation as the event unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during tonight’s telecast using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.
In addition to the latest video and highlights from on-site in Mesquite, www.WorldLongDrive.com will feature real-time scoring. Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Clash in the Canyon leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.
2018 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:
DATE EVENT LOCATION
March 15-17 East Coast Classic West Columbia, S.C.
April 21-24 Clash in the Canyon (*Golf Channel*) Mesquite, Nev.
May 11-15 Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun (*Golf Channel*) Maricopa, Ariz.
June 4-5 Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash (*Golf Channel*) Atlantic City, N.J.
June 21-23 Bluff City Shootout Memphis, Tenn.
July 6-8 Bash For Cash Port Robinson, Ont., Canada
August 2-4 WinStar Midwest Slam Thackerville, Okla.
August 12-13 Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital (*Golf Channel*) Kingsport, Tenn.
September 1-5 Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*) Thackerville, Okla.
Coming off record viewership in 2017 and a season fueled by emergent dynamic personalities, the Clash in the Canyon is the second official event of the 2018 World Long Drive season, as Justin Moose claimed the East Coast Classic in Columbia, South Carolina last month.
Showcasing the truly global nature of World Long Drive, several events will be staged in 2018 through officially sanctioned WLDA international partners, including stops in Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Additionally, an all-encompassing international qualifier will be staged (late summer) featuring a minimum of four exemptions into the Open Division of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.