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Long drive competition to form part of 2023 NFL Pro Bowl Skills competitions

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Yesterday, the NFL announced the eight tests that will form the make-up of the 2023 Pro Bowl, and it involves golf. Of sorts.

The All-Star game takes place on 2nd and 5th of February and ESPN will broadcast the event live for the first time, with the made-for-tv festival containing ‘skills’ that NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport called school games.

On Thursday, the two teams, headed by the coaches Manning – Peyton (AFC) and Eli (NFC) – will face a game of classic dodgeball. The offense and defence of each team will face each other to determine who makes the final and wins three points.

Then follows the bizarre ‘Lightning Round’, something the older readers might have found on Almost Anything Goes! (known as It’s a Knockout for UK subscribers). Then, in the middle, just before ‘Precision Passing’ and ‘Best Catch’ is ‘Longest Drive.’

As NFL.com suggests, this comprises:

 “Four players from each conference will compete in a challenge to drive a golf ball the furthest distance off a tee. Each player will get three swings and the player that drives the furthest within the boundaries on each side of the fairway will win three points for his conference.”

It’s not much, and will probably get lost amidst the more relevant football games, as well as Sunday’s ‘Big Catch Finale’, ‘Gridiron Gauntlet’, ‘Kick Tack Toe’ and ‘Move The Chains’, let alone the Flag football games that conclude the jamboree.

News divided potential viewers, and their reaction was mixed.

Many felt that it was a good move, and would be more entertaining than the usual arrangement:

However, there was plenty of opposition too:

So, what about the golf element?

No matter how hard they try, the Long Drive World Championship has never seen other than a novelty event by the vast majority of golf fans, despite the best attempts of 2020 U.S Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.

It’s also worth noting how much golf viewing figures take a downturn during the football season, so whilst maybe this is some nod to the sport, it feels like nothing more than more novelty.

Fun, maybe, but the move is unlikely to bring in any converted fans to the sport.

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19th Hole

Cam Smith: Joining LIV Golf one of the best decisions I’ve ever made

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While speaking with The Daily Mail prior to his start at LIV Las Vegas, Cam Smith called joining LIV “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

“I’m so happy… 14 events out here, four majors, a couple of events at home where I can give back to the fans there, and that’s me. I feel like there’s a lot of time there to become a better golfer.”

With the PGA Tour recently striking a deal with the Strategic Sports Group, the golf world is wondering will LIV golfers ever be welcome back on the PGA Tour. Cam, however, has no interest in playing any more tournaments and didn’t think much of the deal.

‘I definitely don’t want to play anymore tournaments. I didn’t really have much of a reaction, to be honest… I haven’t really kept an eye on that side. All of us here, we’re just trying to make this tour the best that we can.”

The Australian also talked about the fact that he was able to spend plenty of time at home in the lead up to the 2024 LIV Golf season, which is a rarity for a professional golfer.

“I don’t think I’ve done that since I’ve been a professional,” he told The Daily Mail.

The former Champion Golfer of the Year is a simple man, and really enjoys spending time with friends in Australia.

“Oh, mate, just hanging out with friends and family, going down to the pub, having a couple of beers is really all that makes me happy”.

“Playing golf with even some old members at the golf club that I grew up at, seeing the course – all that stuff, it just puts a smile to my face.”

“Sit around, fire up the grill, have some sausages on bread, and have a beer”.

“I probably had seven or eight weeks off really competitive golf,’ he says. Normally? ‘You almost feel guilty putting the clubs down for a week.”

Despite the more relaxed schedule, Cam still thinks he can contend for major championships.

“The majors are obviously a really big priority,’ Smith says. ‘And I feel like I’m still a good enough golfer to tick a couple of those off.”

Smith will tee it up alongside Dustin Johnson and Tyrrell Hatton for the first round of LIV Golf Las Vegas, which is set to kick off on Thursday.

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Phil Mickelson makes career hole-in-one claim that far exceeds Tiger Woods’ total

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In this week’s LIV Golf media guide, golf legend Phil Mickelson shared that he has a whopping 47 (!) hole-in-one’s in his life.

 

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A post shared by Golf Digest (@golfdigest)

Mickelson has 45 PGA Tour wins and six major championships on his resume, so it is quite believable that he could rack up such a large number of hole-in-one experiences.

To put that number into some perspective though, it is 27 more than the total that Tiger Woods is said to have made.

Of the 47, five of them have been in professional tournaments, which is five shy of Hal Sutton and Robert Allenby according to Golf Digest.

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Tyrrell Hatton reveals why he needed to rescue LIV teammate during hotel check-in for this week’s event

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The LIV Golf series moves onto Las Vegas this week for its second event of the year, and apparently Caleb Suratt had a tricky time checking into his hotel room.

The youngest player on LIV was playing at the University of Tennessee as a Freshman this year, and suddenly found himself as the newest teammate of Jon Rahm on his new team, Legion XIII. Tyrrell Hatton, who also joined Legion XIII recently, told the story of when he saw Suratt trying to check into the hotel in Las Vegas this week, telling media:

“Checking in yesterday, I kind of kept looking over to Caleb, and he was looking over at me quite nervous, so once I finished checking in, I sort of wandered over to make sure that he was OK, and as I got there, the lady checking him in said that he needed someone over 21 to be on the reservation to allow him to stay in the room. I had to hand over my driver’s license to make sure he had a bed for the night.”

Last week, Legion XIII went on to win the team competition, and Suratt contributed enormously, shooting -4 on Sunday when all four team scores were counted towards the total.

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