As is usually the case at World Long Drive Association events these days, Kyle Berkshire provided Tuesday night's most memorable moment. The long-haired and longest-hitting man on the planet was down to his eighth and final attempt after hitting his first seven off the grid during his Round of 16 match at the World Long Drive Championship. And then he did this:
Clutch! The 426-yard rope advanced Berkshire to Wednesday night's quarterfinals and had the long drive community buzzing. But the talk wasn't all glowing regarding the top-ranked hitter.
Twitter handle Long Drive Sheriff (possibly the most appropriate handle on Twitter) cranked up the controversy machine by pointing out a towel near Berkshire's tee, and questioning whether it was used as an alignment aid.
Hmm. . . And thus, "Towelgate" was born.
To be clear, Long Drive Sheriff isn't some rando, but an authoritative voice on this sport. This mystery man is well versed on the WLDA's rule book, most notably taking on equipment manufacturer PXG about not correctly using the phrase "World Long Drive Champion" in ads involving Troy Mullins. Long Drive Sheriff dove into the rules regarding this matter as well and pointed out the Hitter Handbook (Yes, that's the actual name) specifically prohibits placing a towel where Berkshire did, but says nothing about actual penalties for breaking said rules.
Double hmm. . . The PGA Tour never actually cracks down on slow play, but at least its rules book lists slow-play penalties.
Anyway, this chatter eventually got back to Berkshire, who explained the purpose of the towel:
Dew! Somewhere, Bryson DeChambeau is smiling. Berkshire added this:
Works for us. It certainly seems far-fetched that anyone would blatantly break the rules with the cameras rolling.
Long Drive Sheriff retweeted both of Kyle's tweets, and offered this:
And even Long Drive GOAT Jason Zuback weighed in:
So that settles that! Right? Well, kind of. . . Long Drive Sheriff had another bone to pick with Kyle after hearing his post-match interview:
In any event, Berkshire will compete Wednesday night (coverage on Golf Channel starts at 8:30 ET) when a champion will be crowned. And to all those competing, just remember: The Sheriff is watching.
UPDATE: Berkshire wound up winning—and there wasn't a towel in sight.
OK, now we can definitely move on.