Doug Ferguson previews Wednesday's Remax World Long Drive Championship, which I'm in Las Vegas to take in. While I'm not sure what to expect, the lead-up shows on Golf Channel showing what amazing athletes the finalists are, has been a treat to watch.
How it works as live TV (9 pm ET), under the lights on a stage overlooking a racetrack, remains to be seen.
From Ferguson's story, where he focuses on former winner and actual golfer, too, 25-year-old Jamie Sadlowski who famously broke a Golf Channel simulator...twice:
What makes him different from other long-drive specialists is he can play a little golf. Sadlowski made the cut in Boise on the Web.com Tour, and he had a chance to play more Web.com Tour events and some on the Canadian Tour. He turned it down because it hurt what he does best.
He hits down on the ball to play golf. Long drivers are all about hitting up. It's about the launch.
During the Frys.com pro-am at CordeValle, Mansfield launched one so far that it was pin-high in the rough just left of the green on the 418-yard 18th hole, which got the attention of Camilo Villegas, who was on the green. He still only made par. No surprise there. Just because they hit it miles and never have more than a wedge to the green doesn't mean they can chip and putt.
"What people don't understand is we're not these guys," Sadlowski said. "We're not on the putting green at dark. That's not what drives us. What drives us is hitting it as far as humanly possible. We're not bad golfers. When a hacker comes along and says, 'How's the game after the drive?' It's better than you think. You still have to be athletic to square up and make solid contact."
**Having just returned from to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to watch a dry run for the contestants, the setup should be pretty stunning on television. It remains to be seen how well the landing area will receive the player drives, but it should provide plenty of drama.