CRAWFORD | Resumption of PGA's long drive contest a big hit - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Resumption of PGA's long drive contest a big hit

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PGA of America photo. PGA of America photo.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — They came to the No. 10 tee to a large gallery, an introduction to the fans, and one challenge: Hit the golf bar as far as possible.

The PGA of America resurrected the long drive contest after a long hiatus, the last competition coming in 1984. The event was inaugurated here in Louisville in the 1952 PGA Championship at Big Spring Country Club.

Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, and Brendan Steele arrived at the tee already primed for competition, playing for money on each hole already, as Mickelson likes to do during practice rounds.

Bradley crushed a 326 yard drive down the fairway to a roar of approval. The Fowler stepped up, ripped one 328 yards, and turned and flexed for the crowd.

Neither was flexing at the end, however. Late in the afternoon, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa emerged as the winner when his drive came to rest 340 yards from the tee.

The top three finishers, Oosthuizen, Jason Day and Johan Kok, each will get a money clip inspired by the one that Jack Nicklaus received in the first of his two consecutive PGA Championship Driving Contest titles, in 1963. That year, Nicklaus, using a persimmon driver and wound golf ball, hit a winning drive of 341 yards, 17 inches.

Not everyone was thrilled with the contest. The longest driver on the PGA Tour, Bubba Watson, said he thought the competition was “hokey” and didn't participate. The rest of the players, however, seemed to embrace it. Rory McIlroy, in fact, finished his practice round at No. 9, but still came to No. 10 to participate in the long drive contest for the fans.

“I thought it was a great addition.  We all loved it.  We all had fun with it,” said Mickelson. “And we had the feedback right there to let you know how far the drive was.  I thought it was terrific.  I hope they keep doing it.”

LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

1. Louis Oosthuizen 340 yds.
2. Jason Day 338 yds.
3. Johan Kok 337 yds.
4. Gary Woodland 330 yds.
5. Rickie Fowler 328 yds.
6. Keegan Bradley 326 yds.
7. Danny Willett 322 yds.
8. Adam Scott 320 yds.
9. Sergio Garcia 320 yds.
10. Scott Piercy 320 yds.

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