Photo Credit: Rich O’Brien
Last July in Denver there was an air of anticipation as two former champions and many of the longest women in golf assembled for the World Long Drive Association’s Mile High Showdown. All four of the semifinalists from the Clash in the Canyon were back and they were joined by a group of talented challengers that included a handful of new competitors that had seen the coverage of the event at Mesquite and decided to take their shot at being the longest hitter.
I knew that this could potentially be a historic day as the high altitude, dry conditions, and favorable wind conditions made it possible for at least one of these talented women to be the first woman to hit a 400 yard drive in competition.
During one of the preliminary rounds, the four semifinalists from Mesquite, Troy Mullins, Chloe Garner, Sandra Carlborg, and Phillis Meti, were all grouped together and that was when the fireworks began. The set turned out to be arguably the best set in the history of women’s Long Drive as two competitors surpassed the elusive 400 yard mark for the first time in history. Chloe Garner became the first to reach 400 yard mark on the number. Less than a minute later, former record holder Sandra Carlborg raised the bar by a few feet as her drive rolled out to 401 yards. A brief stoppage was done to commemorate the historic moment, but the record did not last long as a few moments later Troy Mullins upped it for the third time by smashing the ball 402 yards in the next round.
When the dust had settled and the preliminary rounds were completed, the four ladies that had Clashed in the Canyon had made a return visit to the Final Four to determine the championship of the Mile High Showdown. In Semifinal #1 Troy Mullins battled Chloe Garner. Meanwhile in Semifinal #2 two-time World Champion Phillis Meti would go toe-to-toe with four-time World Champion Sandra Carlborg. In the first match between a pair of runner-up finishers in the World Long Drive Championship, Mullins edged Garner to advance to the final. Meanwhile in the battle of former champions Phillis Meti ripped a drive that found the speed slot and bounded out to to 406 yards to establish yet another world record on this amazing afternoon. After Meti raised the bar, Carlborg was forced to chase the distance. She made a valiant effort, but she did not have another world record in her on this day.
The Final of the Mile High Showdown featured the woman with arguably the best golf swing in women’s golf (Mullins) versus the longest woman in the history of golf (Meti). Nerves, adrenalin, and the drizzle made hitting in the final even more challenging. Hitting first in the final, Phillis Meti struggled to find the grid in the rain and recorded her longest drive of 363 yards. Troy Mullins then took center stage and put her elegant and efficient golf swing on display. At one point Mullins later admitted that the nerves got the best of her and she whiffed on one attempt. But amidst the challenges that Mullins faced she was undeterred and on her next to last swing she created enough effortless power to claim the Mile High Showdown title with a drive of 374 yards. And in one of the best shows of sportsmanship I have ever seen, Phillis Meti was genuinely happy for Troy Mullins in defeat.
Photo Courtesy of Golf Channel
The Mile High Showdown brought together one of the most talented fields ever assembled in women’s long drive history. On this day four ladies raised the bar by each setting the world record for being the longest driver in the history of women’s golf. At the end of the day there can be only one winner of the event, but the sport of long drive was the big winner by having these talented and powerful women on the big stage and televised on Golf Channel.
NOTE: I was videotaping each of the ladies at the moment they set their world record. To watch the videos click on the links provided above in the story.