Steve Kois & EJ McDonnell Head to World Long Drive Finals

Bonita Bay Club Fitness Professional, Steve Kois and Director of Golf, EJ McDonnell are headed to the Volvik World Long Drive Championship that begins tomorrow and runs through next Wednesday.

Steve has had a very good summer competing in WLD competitions and is currently ranked 41st in the World Rankings.  He earned an exemption into the World Finals through local and regional qualifying in Memphis at the Bluff City Shootout.  Steve had a great performance at the Bash for Cash tour event held just outside of Niagara Falls, Canada.  He fell in the quarterfinals to eventual champion and current world #3, Justin James.Steve on the Grid in Can

EJ has competed in a few events this summer and just missed earning an eemption into the World Finals while qualifying for the Bash for Cash in Canada.  He made his way into the top 100 of the World Rankings for a couple of weeks and is currently ranked 108th.  EJ will be competing in the last chance qualifier on Friday, hoping to earn one of 24 remaining spots in the field.

EJ on the Grid in NC

Live scoring begins tomorrow morning on the official World Long Drive website and the final two nights will be televised live on the Golf Channel.

Good luck to Steve and EJ as they represent Bonita Bay Club at this exciting World Championship event!EJ & Steve - Strategy

Behind the Scenes at the US Open – TV Land

IMG_4221The TV compound at the US Open or any other major tournament is affectionately called TV land. I work here every year as a graphics operator for the world feed which goes to any TV network who pays for it. In the picture here, you can see the control room for Court 17. Every match on Court 17 gets produced here. I work in unison with the director (left) and the technical director (right). My job is to put match relevant score graphics over pictures and help tell the match story. The computer screen in front of me gets constantly updated with scoring data from the IBM network.  It has hundreds of buttons on different tabs and my job is to push the right ones at the right time. If I push the wrong one the director gets very aggravated, so I try hard to stay focused and make no mistakes (just like tennis!).

For example, a graphic I like to use often for singles matches is a Rally Summary page. It’s a full screen which illustrates who wins the short rallies (0 to 4 shots), medium size rallies (5 to 9 shots) or long rallies (9 or more shots). The commentators love it because it helps them with their match analysis. I have to give the director notice when I use this graphic because it has to be shown over a wide shot so it doesn’t cover anything. It also has to stay in for at least 10-15 seconds so viewers can read all the information. (When I watch sports, I personally hate it when a graphic goes in and out so fast that you don’t have time to read it.)

My days are relatively long. I arrive at 9.30 a.m. to make sure all the bio graphics I need for the warmup sequence are accurate. Matches start at 11 a.m. but we start the pre-match show at 10.30 a.m. I often work 12 hours or longer, depending on how many matches go the full distance. Typically, we will cover four matches per day but sometimes five. 

Seems like a long day? Yes, but I love it and learn so much from every event.

The friendships and relationships I’ve built with TV professionals, umpires, photographers, IBM and ATP staffers will probably last a life time.

Enjoy the Open and stay tuned for more blogs and videos later this week!

Dominique Levin
USPTA Head Tennis Professional