The World Long Drive Association (WLDA) season continues next week with the Tennessee Big Shots benefiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital, airing Monday, Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. ET live 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 champions are crowned.
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.
“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 Monday night’s Tennessee Big Shots.”
The event will feature a 36-man field competing in the Open Division based on World Long Drive rankings, led by defending world champion and current No. 1 competitor in the world, 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 a pair of world champions, Phillis Meti (Auckland, New Zealand) and Heather Manfredda (Shelbyville, Ky.)
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. Morning Drive and Golf Central also will prepare viewers for the Tennessee Big Shots through interviews and dedicated segments featuring competitors on-site. 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.
OPEN DIVISION FIELD (in order of World Long Drive ranking): Justin James, Will Hogue, Maurice Allen, Ryan Reisbeck, Ryan Steenberg, Tim Burke, Trent Scruggs, Paul Howell, Mitch Grassing, Jeff Gavin, Glenn Wilson Jr., Kyle Berkshire, Landon Gentry, Justin Moose, Nick Kiefer, Kevin Shook, Tommy Hug, Steve Monroe, Jason Eslinger, Stephen Kois, Jeremy Easterly, Scott Kalamar, Wes Patterson, Brady Torbitt, Ben Tuaone, Josh Cassaday, Spencer McDaniel, Mitch Dobbyn, Patrick Hopper, Jeff Crittenden, Press LaBrie, Jeff Flagg, Bryan Kelly, Daniel Lambert, Anthony Thomas and Tyler Barton.
WOMEN’S DIVISION FIELD: Phillis Meti, Heather Manfredda, Alexis Belton, Chloe Garner, Mary Driscol, Emily Tubert, Hollie Bartsch and Monica Borowicz.
FORMAT: The Open Division preliminary rounds will consist of 36 men broken into four “pods” of nine competitors across four three-minute sets of eight balls each, with a points system being used to identify four from each pod advancing to the Round of 16. From there, five sets of eight balls will determine the eight competitors advancing to take part in the single elimination match play bracket during the live telecast on Golf Channel. The Women’s Division will take part in four sets of eight balls to determine single-elimination match play seeding, with the top-four advancing to the semifinals, which will play out on Monday night’s telecast.
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 on Monday, Aug. 13 using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.
In addition to the latest video and highlights from on-site, WorldLongDrive.com will feature real-time scoring for the duration of the event, Aug. 12-13. Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Tennessee Big Shots leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.