THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Look past the lights. See through the smoke. The Volvik World Long Drive Championship offered up another high-octane spectacle Wednesday under the primetime spotlight at Winstar World Casino and Resort, where Justin James and Sandra Carlborg each left with a championship belt. Even as the word “spectacle” hits the page, the footsteps can be heard of golf purists heading for the exit. But slow the stampede. Sure, there are no putters in the golf bags on this particular driving range. The only hazard these players face is missing a grid that seemingly runs for miles and looks more like a runway than a fairway. There isn’t any rough, and there aren’t any scrambling opportunities. No one is turning in a scorecard. It isn’t golf as we know it – but it isn’t threatening golf, either. Over the past few months, and even years, there have been plenty of voices wondering aloud about the health of the sport, be it through participation numbers or television ratings. The ardent pursuit of a younger demographic remains a key focus from golf course operators to tournament directors. Volvik World Long Drive Championship: Articles, photos and videos Volvik World Long Drive Championship scoring and brackets So what’s the harm with mixing in a little smash factor with your strokes gained-putting? The World Long Drive Tour continues to carve out a niche and establish itself as a viable offshoot of a more traditional sport. It’s a path first trod by the likes of beach volleyball, and perhaps more recently the 3-on-3 professional basketball league that turned some heads over the summer. But what a few years ago may have been a discipline that revolved around a single event on the calendar continues to grow in scope. It’s very much a “tour” out here, with the familiar faces of long drive traversing the country from coast to coast while flashing their eye-popping Trackman numbers for new audiences both in-person and on TV. Like with any burgeoning outlet, increased attention has garnered increased competition. Despite a format change designed to create a larger sample size for the best players, this year’s world championship was rife with upsets as the men’s quarterfinals kicked off without the defending champ or the top two players in the world. Just as the gap between No. 1 and No. 100 in the OWGR has thinned over the years, so too has the advantage the elite long drivers once had over their closest competition. “I think 2017 is the hardest field in world championships history,” said No. 1 Maurice Allen, who won three events this season but was knocked out in the Round of 32. “Like I’ve said many, many times, this sport is growing. The guys are getting better and the competition is getting stiffer, so that’s why when you get a win you truly try to cherish it. You don’t know when a win will be your last.” It’s a sentiment that shows that long drive continues to take itself seriously as more than just an adrenaline-fueled exhibition – and rightfully so. “It’s just getting out to more people now, and the proof is even in the competitors as well,” said 2016 world champ Joe Miller, whose title defense ended in the Round of 16. “It’s not just the fans and who it’s reaching, but the guys. You’re getting people that come in every year now, new fresh faces that can swing out of their shoes. That’s just a direct result of how many people it’s getting out to. It’s building every year.” Granted, long drive is not for everyone. Many will see it as a two-dimensional stunt, one that caters more toward bodybuilders than golfers. But any questions about athletic prowess can be answered by watching James connect with incredible speed, or Kyle Berkshire nearly levitate while taking a mighty lash. Berkshire would never be mistaken for a weightlifter, and like many in this week’s field he is in fact an elite golfer who reached a +4 handicap while at the University of North Texas last year before pursuing long drive on a full-time basis. Berkshire’s background in golf is more common than you might expect. Stroll the range at dusk as players warm up before walking onto the tee and you’ll see the same crisp wedge shots or high-flying long irons that might be on display before the opening round at a Web.com Tour event. Around these parts, possessing a scratch handicap is largely the rule – not the exception. “That’s why I do well even as a newcomer, because I have the speed but I’m also a really good golfer,” said Berkshire, 20, who lost to Mitch Grassing in the semifinals. “I can flight it, I can hit the ball where I want to and I have more control over it than a lot of people might realize.” So yes, long drive is a little different, and it packs a whole lot of flair. And of course, few groups fear change and cling to tradition quite like the game of golf. But this is an elastic landscape, one that should be willing to cater to new disciplines and outside-the-box thinking with an eye toward the future. No one is playing less golf, or turning away from PGA Tour coverage, because of their newfound interest in the emergence of long drive. If anything, it’s a way to engage more casual fans who pay attention to 400-yard shots much more than four-hour final rounds. This is an additive proposition, not a zero-sum choice. The lights may have been turned off in Thackerville for another year, but the sport of long drive won’t be dimming anytime soon. And that’s probably a good thing, even if more traditional golf fans remain shrouded by the smoke.
The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at theUniversity of Florida, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invitesapplications for a full-time, nine-month, time-limited, VisitingAssistant Professor in German Language and Culture, beginningAugust 16, 2021. The successful candidate should be able to: (a)teach six (6) undergraduate language classes during the academicyear, (b) collaborate with colleagues to ensure smooth articulationacross the levels of language instruction, (c) diversify the Germanlanguage curriculum, and (d) develop research agenda in area ofspecialization. Salary is competitive, commensurate withqualifications and experience, and includes a full benefitspackage.The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is home tomultiple language programs. It offers training in languages andcultures from all corners of the globe. From Swahili to Japanese,Russian to Arabic, we give our students the opportunity to becomecross-cultural experts in an ever more internationalized world. TheDepartment is committed to creating an environment that affirmsdiversity across a variety of dimensions, including ethnicity/race,gender identity and expression, and the Department especiallyencourages applications from women and minority groups. Weparticularly welcome applicants who can create such a diverseenvironment with their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, andprofessional service. Please see https://diversity.clas.ufl.edu/diversity-statement/for more information about diversity and inclusion in the Collegeof Liberal Arts and Sciences. The university and greaterGainesville community enjoy a diversity of cultural events,restaurants, year-round outdoor recreational activities, and socialopportunities.Ph.D. degree in German language and culture or other relevant area;ability to teach beginning and intermediate level German languageclasses; native or near-native proficiency in German language andEnglish; at least one year of experience teaching German languageat a US college/university.Although not required, we are particularly interested in candidateswith interest in designing, teaching, and developing advancedGerman language-culture classes F2F and online that contribute todiversifying the language curriculum.For full consideration, applications must be submitted online athttp://apply.interfolio.com/85379 and must include: 1) letter ofapplication, 2) complete curriculum vitae, 3) statement ofteaching philosophy, 4) sample sets of student evaluations, 5)statement of research agenda.After an initial round of screening, candidates who proceed to thenext round will be required to submit: 6) a link to a videorecording of your recent classroom or online teaching (YouTube orother streaming sites) and 7) three confidential letters ofrecommendation.To ensure full consideration, applications should be received byApril 15, 2021, but the search will remain open until the positionis filled. Applications received after April 15, 2021 may beconsidered at the discretion of the committee.Questions may be directed to Dr. Will Hasty, Chair, SearchCommittee, at [email protected] candidates for employment are subject to a pre-employmentscreening which includes a review of criminal records, referencechecks, and verification of education.Final candidate will be required to provide official transcript tothe hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not beconsidered “official” if a designation of “Issued to Student” isvisible. Degrees earned from an education institution outside ofthe United States are required to be evaluated by a professionalcredentialing service provider approved by National Association ofCredential Evaluation Services (NACES), which can be found athttp://www.naces.org/ .The University of Florida is an equal opportunity institutiondedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty andstaff.The University of Florida is An Equal Employment OpportunityInstitution. If an accommodation due to a disability is needed toapply for this position, please call 352/392-2477 or the FloridaRelay System at 800/955-8771 (TDD). Hiring is contingent uponeligibility to work in the US. Searches are conducted in accordancewith Florida’s Sunshine Law.#category=47The University of Florida is committed to non-discrimination withrespect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex,sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status,national origin, political opinions or affiliations, geneticinformation and veteran status in all aspects of employmentincluding recruitment, hiring, promotions, transfers, discipline,terminations, wage and salary administration, benefits, andtraining.
Feb 10, 2011New Zealand officials find vaccine helped ease 2010 flu impactSurveillance data on the impact of pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza in New Zealand show a similar chronological progression of the disease between 2009 and 2010 but a lower impact of the disease in 2010. New Zealand officials who issued the report today in Eurosurveillance said vaccination appears to have contributed to the decreased impact. Although demographic characteristics of the 2010 wave were similar to those in 2009—with highest rates in children under 5 years and in indigenous Maori and Pacific populations—community cases, hospitalization rates, and intensive care unit (ICU) cases were all lower in 2010. Compared with 2009 rates, consultation rates in 2010 for flu-like illness were 72%, hospitalization rates 72%, and ICU admissions 87.4%. In addition, although 2010 saw fewer confirmed deaths (15), the rate of 8.5 per 100,000 cases was similar to the 2009 level of 9.0. The researchers estimated that pre-second-wave immunity to 2009 H1N1 flu, based on exposure and vaccination, ranged from 25.2% in those aged 20 to 39 to 66.6% in people 60 and older. The authors conclude, “Immunisation appears to have contributed to the reduced impact of the pandemic in 2010, particularly for those aged 60 years and older.”Feb 10 Eurosurveillance reportUK experts share early flu vaccine effectiveness findingsUK health officials today released an interim report on the effectiveness of last season’s monovalent flu vaccine and this season’s trivalent vaccine against the region’s flu strains so far, most of which has been the 2009 H1N1 virus, with some influenza B. They found that 2009 H1N1 protection was best in people who were vaccinated both seasons and that coverage seemed to wane in those who only received last season’s monovalent vaccine. Their study used data from four sentinel surveillance systems in England, Wales, and Scotland and is based on information from 4.554 people who were swabbed for flu-like illness. The study included 1,251 case-patients who tested positive for 2009 H1N1 flu and 2,229 controls, whose results were negative. Adjusted vaccine effectiveness against the 2009 H1N1 virus was 34% (95% confidence interval [CI]: -10% to 60%) for those who received only the monovalent vaccine last year, 46% (CI 7% to 69%) in those who received only the trivalent vaccine this season, and 63% (CI 37% to 78%) in those vaccinated both seasons. Against influenza B and H3N2, the adjusted vaccine effectiveness was 50% (CI 17% to 70%). The researchers said their findings were consistent with previous vaccine effectiveness findings for seasonal flu vaccines during the prepandemic years when circulating strains are a good match with the vaccine. The findings suggest a dose-response relationship to 2009 H1N1 protection, which the investigators said reinforces the importance of yearly vaccination for recommended groups.Feb 10 Eurosurveillance reportStudy: Stockpiled H5N1 vaccine useful for prime-boost strategyAn H5N1 vaccine in the US Strategic National Stockpile could be used as a powerful tool in a pandemic setting, even though the 2004 strain of the virus in it wouldn’t match current or future circulating H5N1 strains, researchers report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The United States currently has 20 million doses of a vaccine against the 2004 Vietnam strain of H5N1. Researchers tested different prime-boost strategies using the stockpiled vaccine alone or in combination with an experimental H5N1 vaccine that contains the Indonesian strain, the most common circulating strain. The randomized, prospective multicenter trial of 491 healthy adults also measured the effect of different time intervals between the two doses. Each dose of the H5N1 vaccine contained 90 micrograms of antigen. Immune responses using the different vaccine combinations were modest, with two doses needed to protect against a flu virus with a novel hemagglutinin antigen. A 180-day interval between the first and second dose gave the best protection but might not be an option in a quickly developing pandemic, the group reported. They concluded that giving the stockpiled Vietnam H5N1 vaccine first primed the immune system for to heighten the response to the newer vaccine. Robert Bleshe, MD, lead author of the study and director of Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development, said in a EurekAlert press release yesterday, “The most surprising thing we discovered was the value of time. It’s incredible how much stronger response you get at six months. There’s something going on there that we know nothing about and is a very interesting area for future research.”Feb 9 EurekAlert press releaseMar J Infect Dis abstractOct 31, 2007, CIDRAP News story “The pandemic vaccine puzzle part 5: what role for prepandemic vaccination?”H1N1 takes over as China’s dominant flu strainAs China enters the peak of its flu season, the 2009 H1N1 virus has edged out H3N2 as the dominant strain, the country’s health ministry said today, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency. Shu Yuelong, head of China’s National Influenza Center, said 2009 H1N1 evolved as the dominant strain over the last 2 months, and though officials expect more severe cases to occur, the virus is not likely to have the same impact it did in 2009. The country has reported 129 severe 2009 H1N1 cases since late 2010, including 20 deaths since the start of 2011. He said confirmed flu infections and outpatient and emergency department visits for flu-like illness are all below last season’s high levels. Vaccination against the 2009 H1N1 virus also appears to be effective, he added.Feb 10 Xinhua storyHHS announces $750 million investment in public healthThe US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday a $750 million investment in prevention and public health for 2011, including $137 million to help shore up public health infrastructure. The allocation, part of the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, “is designed to expand and sustain the necessary capacity to prevent disease, detect it early, manage conditions before they become severe, and provide states and communities the resources they need to promote healthy living,” according to an HHS release. Last year the agency distributed $500 million from the fund. This year’s spending includes $298 million for community prevention measures; $182 million for clinical prevention, which includes immunizations; $137 million for state and local public health infrastructure, including funding for disease outbreak detection and response; and $133 million on research and tracking the impact of the Affordable Care Act and other evidence-based public health measures. In a separate release today, the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) praised the funding, saying, “Preventing disease and injury is the most effective, common-sense way to improve health in the United States.” The fund will provide $16.5 billion over 10 years for bolstering local and state public health efforts.Feb 9 HHS press releaseFeb 9 TFAH releasePAHO investigates more AFP cases in HaitiPan American Health Organization (PAHO) officials in Haiti are investigating more potential cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) in people recovering from cholera and are asking health partners to increase vigilance for the condition, the agency said yesterday in an update. Polio has been ruled out in the first four patients with AFP from Northwest department, but PAHO new suspected cases are from another department. Meanwhile, the number of new cholera cases appears to be stabilizing or even declining, and health officials have been able to turn their attention to post-earthquake activity such as rebuilding the country’s National Blood Service and a nursing school in Port-au-Prince. So far the number of confirmed cholera cases in Haiti is 216,938, including 4,120 deaths. PAHO also said mortality rates are decreasing.Feb 9 PAHO updateIn other cholera developments, scientists have described a key advance toward a better, faster test to detect the cholera toxin in sick patients, the American Chemical Society (ACS) reported yesterday. The new method uses nanoparticles that are prepared with iron oxide and coated with dextran sugar. Cholera toxin in water, blood, or other fluid binds to the nanoparticles, which can be detected by instruments. A study describing the findings appeared in the ACS journal Bioconjugate Chemistry.Feb 9 ACS press releaseBioconjug Chem abstract
The world continues to grapple with COVID-19 as we ride the wave of the virus and hope we stagger the spread across Jamaica as best as possible.The rescheduling of sporting events becomes critical for the latter part of 2020, and beyond, to limit the far-reaching economic impact.There will be a rising demand for sports for months to come as sports fans crave live programming. Television Jamaica Sports Network is airing replays of all five days of Champs 2019, and it has been golden!I assume that stakeholders have begun discussions around deriving earnings from the latter part of 2020. Staging meets later in the year may provide revenues while allowing athletes to maintain some level of conditioning going into what will be a heavily anticipated 2021 season.For some athletes, these are tough economic times. Outside of the sports’ flagbearers, who have the cushion of lofty shoe contracts and significant earnings from prize monies, bonuses, and appearance fees, the majority of athletes and coaches do not have the economic luxury of foregoing an entire season.This economic setback brings into sharper focus the importance of diversifying athletes’ income streams and increasing their earning potential going forward. The shoe contracts and salaries from competing at the top- or mid-tier meets are essential to realising prime earnings in the sport. Still, I believe that all athletes need to now reconsider brand building as a critical part of their arsenal. Athletes ignoring global trends I have often said that many track-and-field athletes locally are ignoring global trends to their financial detriment. Long gone are the days when athletes collect their competition salary and head home. In 2020, there are no limits to athletes’ success as they can earn additional millions from endorsements. Endorsement earnings far outstrip player salaries across most sports. The top-ranked athletes are usually able to generate the extra income that sports personalities can generate from endorsements because they are typically represented by a team that focuses on the brand building while they play.With only a small earning window of 10 to 15 years, athletes can create additional value by building their social-media profile, increasing engagement with fans of the sport, increasing their digital and traditional media presence in and out of competition, and developing corporate partnerships. More fan engagement and developing a solid reputation are essential aspects of improving the athlete’s social influence.The newest buzzword in advertising is ‘influencer marketing’, and the sports influencer’s advantage is a built-in audience of inspired fans. Corporate companies are now paying macro and micro influencers to endorse their products and services. Many of our local athletes are left behind because they have not developed a brand voice, explored their marketability, or displayed the level of professionalism required. Connecting with fans Currently, with sports in the US at a standstill, the airwaves are flooded with athletes. Their day-to-day activities, their family time, their TikTok dance moves, and insider details that the fan would not typically be aware of become golden for brands and television stations seeking to connect with an audience. While Jamaica does not have a rabid fan culture, there are still opportunities for athletes to connect more with fans locally.I suggest that any athlete seeking to maximise on their playing years consider a team that includes not just a coach and booking agent, but brand managers who will ensure that they can derive more value from their golden years.Jamaica’s best blueprint remains Usain Bolt, who made roughly 30 times in endorsement earnings than he did on the track.I always try to look for the silver lining in any circumstance. I urge the next generation of athletes to assess how they can increase their marketability, develop their brand, and diversify their income streams as one of the takeaways from 2020. One love. Tanya Lee has over 10 years’ expertise as a Caribbean sports marketer and is also an athlete manager and publicist.
… Tournament receives international support REGISTRATION for the second edition of the Prime Minister’s T20 Softball Cup closes tomorrow, according to information from the organising committee. The tournament will run from October 19 to 21, with games to be played across Georgetown.The inaugural tournament in 2017 attracted a staggering 20 teams, with 12 in the Masters Over-45 category and the remaining eight in the All-Stars category. The overall number of teams in 2018 is expected to increase significantly, with interest being shown by teams from as far away as Canada, New York and Florida, besides the interest being generated by the best local talents from across the country.Atlantic Southern Trade and Rica Juice Managing Director Rajkumar Outar (right) with Telesha Ousman at the official ceremonyThe GSCL is also reminding teams that no registration fee is required; but lots are up for grabs, with more than $2M at stake. The prize money in each category has increased from 2017, with the All Stars champions set to take home $700 000 while the Masters champions will pocket $600 000. What’s more, the Most Valuable Player in each category will win a Hero motorcycle and a 55-inch Smart television set respectively.Speed Boat All-Stars are the defending Open champions, and Regal Masters are the holders of the Masters title.Meanwhile, the tournament has attracted a number of local and international sponsors, with Managing Director of Encore Consulting Corporation of South Florida, Richard Singh, and Rajkumar Outar of Atlantic Southern Trade and Rica Juice, of Annandale, East Coast Demerara, inking their support recently.Teams are urged to call the GSCL on 225-4802 or 610-7902 for more information and registration details.
Wellington Police notes: Wednesday, May 2, 2018:•2:04 a.m. Officers took a report of an animal complaint by known owner in the 1100 block E. 16th, Wellington.•9:22 a.m. James W. Arrington, 40, Wellington was issued a notice to appear for speeding 62 mph in a 40 mph zone.•10:50 a.m. Officers investigated criminal damage to a dwelling in the 200 block E. 3rd, Wellington.•12:45 p.m. Non-Injury, hit and run accident in the 1100 block W. 8th, Wellington involving an unknown vehicle and a parked and unoccupied vehicle owned by Martha L. Tracy, Wellington.•1:31 p.m. Dustin Martin, 36, Wellington was issued a notice to appear for dog at large.•4:37 p.m. Officers took a suspicious activity report in the 200 block E. Kansas, Wellington.•8:20 p.m. Officers took a suspicious activity report in the 200 block N. C, Wellington.