With LIV Golf and the PGA Tour mired in an ugly battle, ESPN gives World League FlingGolf a chance at Prime Time.
August 04, 20223 min read
With the sports press full of professional golf's defections, lawsuits, defenders of ancient tradition, sportswashing by oily autocrats, and general greed (posing as mega-millionaires "watching out for their families"), ESPN2 will be offering up a refreshing antidote to the LIV Golf / PGA drama in the form of World League FlingGolf's New Swarm FlingGolf Classic this Monday, August 8 at 730P Eastern.
"Our players play for the soul of our sport" says founder of FlingGolf, Alex Van Alen. "They are pioneering FlingGolf and taking it in new directions every day. They pay their own way to tournaments, approach golf courses and arrange demo days, clinics and tournaments on their own dime and time, all just to grow the sport they love. That is why the sport is growing so quickly."
Austin Ebersole, the golf pro at American Classic Golf Club, the site of the 2022 New Swarm Classic, believes the golf world is ready for a new approach to the course, and a new attitude to go with it. "I've been a golf pro now for over 6 years, and will always have a place in my heart for the true sport of it, but with the growth of FlingGolf I am seeing a freshness, even a joy, from all kinds of players participating in something so casual and fun but competitive and athletic at the same time. We are able to proceed without professional golf's centuries of baggage, which, particularly now, makes this a special moment."
Participants in the New Swarm Classic range from DOT workers from Maine and Pennsylvania, to a cannabis shop owner in Denver, a member of the Oneida Nation, a golf pro, fitness/yoga trainer, and a black belt, as well as collegiate athletes from Bryant University and Southern University, a historically Black College in Louisiana. With an even broader reach outside the tournament, FlingGolf has been used to bring disadvantaged youth to the golf course by First Tee coaches and PGA pros, provided a way on to the course for combat wounded veterans through the Fairways for Warriors program and brought families of golfers and non-golfers out to play together.
John Pruellage, the President of New Swarm, which manufactures the FlingStick, the only piece of equipment (along with a golf ball) needed to play the sport, feels that the moment is right for FlingGolf to be seen by a broader audience. "ESPN's reach will help expose the sport to even more players and in more places. It also gives us a chance to showcase how skilled our players are and the culture and spirit of our sport. We are confident that, with the very wide demographic of players that we have seen pick up the sport to date, this will be a big boost forward for our growth."
Steve Bloom, New Swarm's VP agrees and sees additional possibilities. "We have seen in the past that some of our presumptions about potential players has fallen short of the reality. Following our SharkTank appearance, we reached new audiences that became players that had not even considered being on a golf course before. I would bet that we will see even more surprises following our ESPN debut."
"When ESPN originally approached us about partnering to broadcast the Classic, LIV Golf was still just Phil Mickelson's embarrassing moment," Van Alen recalls, "but now it has exposed an ugliness in both it's own arrogance as well as in the PGA Tour's fear of losing it's grip. I think it is turning people off of professional golf and pro golfers. ESPN is giving World League FlingGolf a chance to show the broader sports world what we already know: FlingGolf is a sport made for every man, every woman and every kid out there, and our champions are their next door neighbor, the guy laying asphalt on the highway, their jiu-jitsu coach, or a combat veteran encouraging them to get out on the golf course, play hard and have fun."
World League FlingGolf's New Swarm FlingGolf Classic will be aired on ESPN2 on Monday, August 8 at 730 PM (EDT)