About the sport of long drive. Some years ago, Pinnacle held long drive competitions that anybody could enter for a small fee, with a chance at winning a big purse for the longest drive in a final. Far as I know, the first promise of big money to somebody was made by Pinnacle.
Enter Art Sellinger, a pretty good long driver himself and a better lawyer and promoter. Art got a contract to manage these long drive events for the sponsors and also formed a "Long Drivers Association" along the lines of the PGA, with organized long drive competitions that LDA members could enter, while amateurs could still compete in the Pinnacle or Re/Max. It was during this era that the finals came to be held in Mesquite, Nevada.
Well, this year it was announced, so I am told, you can check the LDA site for more accurate info and an announcement Sellinger is said to have made in January, that the LDA is in effect dissolved and that one does not have to be an LDA member to enter certain long drive competitions, and that while Sellinger is still providing the organization behind various events, all events are open to anybody who antes up the entry fee. Which is higher now. Sellinger has a contract with the Golfchannel to present more LD coverage than before..
You can see a tale of shaky economics and the struggle of some to carve out a profitable structure in long drive. Big part of the problem, imo, is that local qualifiers were/are hosted by golf courses and driving ranges that don't get a lot of reward for playing host. I think amateurs, local joes who pick up a driver and enter for the heck of it, were hurt by all the attempts to create an organization that held a monopoly on some competitions.
By and large, the story has been one of increased professionalization and organization, same as in golf generally.
There are talented, personable athletes who have made a good living in long drive, and there is some sponsorship money out there for the right person. I've probably made some errors in the above recitation, so take it with a grain of salt. For more info, see Sellinger's LDA site and also Incepta which has a good forum on LD.