Golf Channel Telecast Featured World’s Longest Hitters, With Final Match Coming Down to a Difference of 13 Inches
Las Vegas, Nev. – It was a night of inches on Golf Channel, and Jeff Flagg, 29, of Pelham, Ala., got the 13 extra he needed Tuesday to win the 2014 RE/MAX World Drive Championship, along with the coveted championship belt and winner-take-all $250,000.
Tied at 365 yards after their requisite six drives in the championship match, Flagg and 43-year-old Jeff Crittenden of Greensboro, N.C., waited anxiously for an exact measurement to the inch that would break the tie and determine who would be the ultimate winner. Flagg’s drive bested Crittenden by a mere 13 inches, which proved to be the shortest margin of victory in the history of the RE/MAX World Drive Championship competition.
“I thought I had him,” said Flagg, “but if there’s anything I learned from baseball is that you can’t get to high or too low until it’s a done deal.” Flagg took up long driving after a baseball career at Mississippi State University (where he was teammates with fellow Las Vegas 8 competitor Connor Powers) and with the New York Mets organization.
Speed and power were on display in front of a packed audience during the two-hour, live finale, which aired on Golf Channel from a custom-made competition set at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. Eight finalists – the Las Vegas 8 – competed in head-to-head matches requiring all to conquer the conditions in attempts to hit drives requiring both distance and accuracy. Of the total seven head-to-head matches, five were decided by two yards or less.
Crosswinds and crisp temperatures created a challenging environment, making it difficult for all players to hit the grid or reach the distances to which they have become accustomed. Headlining the field of eight heading into the night were returning former champions Joe Miller of London, England, and Jamie Sadlowski of St. Paul, Alberta, Canada, who faced off early in the telecast. The other competitors included: Daniel Beckman, Fresno, Calif.; Matt Hanger, Anaheim, Calif.; Connor Powers, Naperville, Ill.; and Adam Smith, Tomball, Texas.
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.
Flagg said he was humbled by the experience and hopes to be an ambassador for the sport of long drive. He celebrated with members of his family and girlfriend who traveled to Las Vegas for the competition, and will make his first television appearance on Wednesday’s telecast of Morning Drive on Golf Channel.
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
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. Exclusive partnerships with the world’s top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, as well as a programming schedule distinguished by golf’s highest-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platforms, headed by GolfChannel.com, are the leading golf destinations on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Live Extra and select programming is simulcast via SiriusXM’s PGA TOUR Radio. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital services including Golf Channel Mobile; GolfNow, the world’s largest online booking platform; GolfAdvisor.com, a golf course ratings and review portal; the interactive Golf Channel Academy instructional app; and the Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.
ABOUT LONG DRIVERS OF AMERICA
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.
ABOUT THE RE/MAX NETWORK
Celebrating 40 years of real estate history, RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger. These two real estate industry visionaries still lead the Denver-based global franchisor today. RE/MAX is recognized as the leading real estate franchise brand with the most productive sales force in the industry and a global reach of more than 90 countries. Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX. With a passion for the communities in which its agents live and work, RE/MAX is proud to have raised more than $130 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and other charities. For more information about RE/MAX, to search home listings or find an agent in your community, please visit www.remax.com.
ABOUT THE LAS VEGAS CONVENTION AND VISITORS AUTHORITY
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is charged with marketing Southern Nevada as a tourism and convention destination worldwide, and also with operating the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center. With more than 150,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas alone and 10.8 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space citywide, the LVCVA's mission centers on attracting ever‑increasing numbers of leisure and business visitors to the area. For more information, go to www.lvcva.com or www.LasVegas.com.