I don’t know how many of you roll your eyes when they start raving about driving distances on the telecasts during PGA Tour events, but I have something here that shows just how out of control things are.
We already know that you’re going to get eye-popping numbers when driving the ball on fairways that are cut faster than the average public green, but I have to say, 50 yards roll-out is just silly.
I went back after watching the Youtube highlights of yesterday’s AT & T Byron Nelson winner Aaron Wise hit a drive of around “340 yards” on the the Par 4 fifteenth hole which measures at 440 yards from the tee.
AAron Wise’s “340” Yard Drive
The reason I put “340” in quotes is because his ball speed was 174 mph (which is not bad at all), he carried it about 285 yards (again, not bad), and after it ran downhill like a rabbit on steroids, it finished at 339 yards according to the PGA Tour’s Shot Tracker data:
Now, I don’t know about you all, but do you really call a drive that runs 54 yards downhill after landing “a 339 yard drive?”
Just saying – if distance is a problem on the Tour due to drivers overwhelming the courses, how about not mowing the fairways with a Stimp reading that exceeds most billiard tables?!?
It’s The Equipment As Well
If I hear another pro or analyst make the laughable claim that driving distances are up because of the younger, fitter and stronger players simply muscling the ball further, I don’t know what I’ll do.
In 1996, 30 year old John Daly led the PGA Tour driving stats with an average of 288 yards – that’s total distance, not carry. And that’s just 3 yards longer than Aaron Wise’s carry distance with the driver on 174 mph ball speed yesterday.
“That New Fitness Regime Is Really Paying Off…”
Fast-Forward 20 years to 2016 and a now 50-year-old John Daly averaged 303 yards driving on the Champions Tour – so that’s 15 yards longer average drive from Long John, twenty years older.
16 yards longer than when he was half the age… sure, it isn’t the equipment, John Daly and Tom Watson were just younger, stronger and fitter playing the Champions Tour than they were in their prime playing years on the regular Tour… got it!!
Tiger Woods Has Always Been Around 120 MPH In Club Speed
You’ll remember the kerfuffle when people were actually claiming that Tiger Woods had a swing captured at 129 mph club speed at the age of 42, and after 4 back surgeries…
And how it was obvious that the reading was a Trackman mis-read… but you don’t have to have checked to see all the info on the Trackman’s infamous inability to read accurate club speeds with certain drivers or that his ball speed was virtually the same with his usual 120 mph club speed and the one “measured” at 129 mph.
All you had to do, and I wish I’d thought of it at the time, was to check his historical club speed in other years and now:
2018 – 121.6 mph avg, High of 129.20 (yeah, sure….)
2012 – 120.94 mph avg – High of 125.34 mph
2009 – 120.52 mph avg – High of 123.85 mph
2007 – 123.95 mph avg – High of 127.08
Looking at TW’s club speed history, go ahead and tell me that the 42 year old version of TW fresh off his 4th back surgery generated a near-130 mph club speed that he wasn’t close to at his highest speeds even eleven years younger and arguably at his peak (7 wins in 16 starts in ’07 & 8 in 15 starts in ’06) when they began to compile club speeds (and long before he had any back issues, which began during the 2013 season).
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