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Wednesday
Oct302013

Quick Roundup: World Long Drive From Las Vegas Speedway

I'm not going to spoil it in case you didn't watch or are just that anxious to read my column in next week's Golf World, but the Remax World Long Drive Championship finished with a stunning act of athleticism and clutch performance.

For the first two hours, the players displayed the usual emotion and frustration that comes with trying to hit a 400-yard drive while an audience looks on. Throw in the live element, a few kinks in the process of making the whole thing work, and the momentum built slowly before the final was down to 4. When the far more compelling match play element started, the event lived up to its promise.

If you want to know more about winner Tim Burke and the finals-record 427-yard drive that allowed him to edge England's Joe Miller, you can read about the winner in W.C. Ramirez's game story, or catch one of the Golf Channel encore telecasts: Thursday, Oct. 31, 4 a.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 4, 12:30 a.m. ET, Sunday, Dec. 1, 11:30 a.m. ET.

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Reader Comments (15)

A new distance record! Which, with the elevated tee and tricked-out landing zone, doesn't mean squat. But it was fun to watch, pro wrestling in soft spikes.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFila rules
It's not golf it's a freak show.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
Watched it and was not very impressed. Guys struggled to find the grid and the crowd was a smaller version of a motorcross crowd. I think the issue was that the coverage just did not capture how far these guys hit the ball since the pace was really good. The cameras struggled to follow the ball and when they did, there was no feeling for just how long/far some of the drives were. Add in the Vegas sign in the background and the whole thing really came across as bad. I was really hoping for some new coverage ideas other than Flight Path and two camera angles.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheeks
I like they tried to copy the World Series of Poker, show the leed up on tape and have the finals live. Don't know if all the guys liked the month in between the semis and the finals,but I hoped it gave them some time to get a few sponsor patches.

As for the setting, was it the camera angle or tv but the grid did not look square to the launch area. I would have loved to see some of the track man numbers, especially the ones that were 100 yards left or right.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark
Watched a bit, including the end which was pretty dramatic, but I thought the disconnected tee and landing area made it tough to appreciate the distances involved. But hey cool once a year to watch for a bit, especially with Holly Sonders in the house.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
I thought it was pretty fun to watch.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKevin part deux
It was fun to watch but there is room for improvement. The guys in the finals looked like they belonged there as they consistently averaged 5-7mph greater swing speeds, (140 v. 145-147). I have seen long drivers before but never really watched a full competition. Some of those quick hooks and wild slices are inevitable with 48" shafts and 140mph swing speeds, but I did not realize how great of a shot dispersion they had. Suggestions: they could have a SwingVision camera focused on impact. The spectators and the cameras were mostly off to the side so it was a tough perspective view, particularly of the balls in flight. I did not like the race track setting or the canted landing area.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterduck!hooker
Duck - You mean a Konica-Minolta Biz Hub Swing Vision camera!
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Big K
Fun to watch. The angle the landing area was at had to throw those guys off and seemed to give a slight advantage to the guys who hit a draw which seemed to be most of them. Though I think that monster winner was a fade.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterreef
@brian s you cannot be serious about Holly Saunders? That may be the worst I've ever seen her look and she obviously cannot work without a script as her questions were lame and a real struggle. Even the players looked confused when asked to answer questions. The only thing that made her seem acceptable was how bad her cohort, Michael Breed, was at asking questions.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSal Bonpensiero
@brian s you cannot be serious about Holly Saunders? That may be the worst I've ever seen her look and she obviously cannot work without a script as her questions were lame and a real struggle. Even the players looked confused when asked to answer questions. The only thing that made her seem acceptable was how bad her cohort, Michael Breed, was at asking questions.
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSal Bonpensiero
Was it a long drive Geoff, or did you take a flight?
10.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMacDuff
Could they have super-imposed w/CGI some famous golf holes (Road Hole, 13th Augusta, 18th Sawgrass) on the hitting area to put the shot distances into perspective? Is that tech possible?
10.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchubbyhubby
I watched the entire series leading up to the final and made a point of catching the final live. A couple of observations:

1) It's ridiculous to change the size of the "court" for the finals. Everyone qualified on the 60-yard-wide grid in Mesquite and then in the finals they're shooting at a target only 50 yards wide. This makes no sense and it wouldn't happen in any other sport. A wider grid would make for more drives that qualify and that would result in a more compelling contest. The sport is LONG DRIVE --- it's NOT "Long and Straight Drive."

2) Yes, they were hitting into a "dogleg" due to the curve of the track and that was nonsense as well. A fade stood less of a chance of staying in the grid than a draw. Unfair to faders..

3) I agree with another poster that EVERY SWING should be shown close-up and from directly behind the hitter. That way we can immediately get an idea of where the ball is going. This is how all networks do it when showing the PGA Tour -- so should the Long Drive Championship. Seems that in the contest the show's director was determined to give us "variety" while players were hitting and it added nothing to the broadcast.
11.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
I found the show to be boring. It would be better to have a weight division. So what if someone who is 6'6" and 245 lbs. can hit a ball 420 yards downhill in the desert?
11.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBuffett

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