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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Critter Almost Broke the Bank in Vegas

It was a winner-take-all competition at the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship last night. The temperature was in the mid-50s and the wind was swirling at the Wolf Course of the Las Vegas Paiute Resort. The winner would get $250k, the other 7 players would get zero. Nada. Zip.

The Vegas 8 were playing match play -- single elimination two-man matches -- and most people expected the winner to come from the Joe Miller / Jamie Sadlowski match since they held 3 titles between them. Miller took out Sadlowski by 2 yards... and 2 other matches were decided by a single yard.

Although I expected #1 seed Matt "The Hangman" Hanger to win, he was taken out by Jeff "The Critter" Crittenden in the first round. The Critter was a sentimental favorite for me -- not only because he was the oldest player in the field (43 years old) but because he's from Greensboro NC, a mere 30 minutes east of where I live.

And then, miracle of miracles, the Critter took out Miller in the semis... again, by one yard. He made it to the finals against Jeff Flagg, a first-timer who was formerly a Minor League Baseball player with the New York Mets.

Jeff Flagg

Art Sellinger, owner of the Long Drivers of America and a two-time past champion, helped GC's Ryan Burr and instructor Michael Breed anchor the event, and he said he'd never seen an event with so many close finishes.

In the end Flagg beat the Critter by a mere 13 inches with a drive of just under 366 yards into the wind. This was Crittenden's last run at the title and he'll will likely end up being the big story from this event, given that no one expected him to get out of the first round, let alone knock off Hanger and Miller.

But I don't think Flagg will mind. He'll be too busy spending all that pretty money. ;-)

This was the 20th year that RE/MAX sponsored the event. They had an option to renew for next year but have apparently decided not to. The new sponsor is still to be announced but you have to think this event has grown big enough to draw somebody's attention.

The photo came from this article.


  1. Analyst Bernard Sheridan is from the same hometown as Crittenden