World Long Drive sold to GF Sports and Entertainment; competitions return to TV in 2023 with bigger purses

World Long Drive is coming back in 2023 and will be bigger and stronger than before.

GF Sports & Entertainment has acquired the World Long Drive IP, and the sport is set to return to TV on the Golf Channel with bigger purses and excitement.

The last couple of years have been a slow stretch for the sport of long drive. It was not televised during the COVID-19 pandemic when Golf Channel postponed and then canceled the season for World Long Drive. The players decided to pick up the baton and host events at One Stop Power Shop in North Carolina, which blossomed into the Professional Long Drivers Association.

The PLDA faced challenges of travel during COVID and finding advertising dollars within pandemic budgets, but it had the goal of keeping the sport alive. There are a lot of new names in the sport since the last televised event in 2019, and they feel it’s important to get the athletes in the right light and fans on board with the growing sport.

The 2023 WLD season with be comprised of 12 events domestically and more than 30 events internationally. Players will tee it up to win more than $1.1 million in cash prizes. Competitors will have the opportunity to qualify for the World Long Drive Championship at eight qualifying North American events, equating to 128 total qualifying spots.

“World Long Drive is exciting, challenging and fun,” said professional golfer and 2022 PLDA Championship runner-up Bryson DeChambeau. “I started long drive to increase my swing speed, and then I got addicted to hitting it farther and farther. I’m looking forward to qualifying for Atlanta and competing on a national stage in 2023.”

volvik world long drive championship- Season 2018
volvik world long drive championship- Season 2018

Volvik World Long Drive Championship  (Photo by: Cy Cyr/Golf Channel)

Amateur level competitors from all over the world aspiring to join the tour will have the opportunity to qualify at various ranges to make it to the grand stage of the championship. This grows the sport in inclusivity, as it will give competitors from 18 different countries the opportunity to compete in the established league.

“To say I am thrilled for World Long Drive to be returning to television is an understatement,” said 2019 World Long Drive Champion Kyle Berkshire. “The sport and its athletes deserve to be showcased on this platform, and I am excited for all of us to deliver many memorable moments and storylines to the viewers over the years to come.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek