One of the PGA Tour’s most controversial competitors could be up for something big. Two years ago, Bryson DeChambeau made the headlines for suddenly strengthening himself after revising his training regime. With a prestigious amateur career behind him, in which his name was scrawled alongside Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, the surprising move caught the attention of experts and other professionals.
Golf doesn’t usually prefer the muscles that DeChambeau suddenly presented. Unlike contact sports, there wasn’t much emphasis on muscle mass … but DeChambeau’s decision was not based on vanity. Instead, “The Scientist” looked for hard data to gain an edge over the competition.
Aside from meticulously specialized clubs, DeChambeau pursued what statistical analysis suggested: that one massive drive could mean the difference between them Competitors like Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, or not. And it worked – in 2020 DeChambeau released the longest drives of any pro.
He finished fourth at the 2020 PGA Championship. then first at the US Open later in the year. Still, his early successes didn’t mean a clear path to the top. Despite the hype and intrigue surrounding data-driven golf training, DeChambeau is not listed as a favorite in any of the upcoming competitions.
For example, Betway Golf Betting Markets List Sam Burns as a favorite at 3pm for the Houston Open; Odds for major events next year, like the 2022 US Masters, list DeChambeau behind big names like Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. All three are known for their technique and skill in putting, the opposite of what DeChambeau is trying to use.
Still, it seems that more and more golf professionals are relying on data to improve their training regimen.
A numbers game
Golf is a numbers game. Even casual golfers looking to improve their game will turn to statistics to help them track their performance or set a handicap. For the most part, golfers keep track of their fairway drive, where they land on the greens and how many putts it takes to complete a hole.
Others interact with statistics when betting on major events like the ones listed above. A professional’s latest stats, as well as their historical stats at a given rate, tell who bettors are betting on and which lines are placing bets on.
But professionals are also busy tabulating their performance and calculating the numbers for insightful chunks of data. Indeed, many of them carry meter books with them to document every minute detail of their performance, with caddies helping out even while majoring. Golfers are aware of their strengths and weaknesses – not just in general, but also in relation to each course, club and opponent.
Typically the most important statistics SG / Approach the Green, Scoring Average, SG / Off-the-Tee and SG / Tee-to-Green are equally covered by fans, experts and professionals.
The urge to develop
Many golf fans and professionals know the phrase ‘Drive for show, putt for dough“Made popular by Denny McCarthy. Traditionally, a golfer’s stats have focused more on accuracy in putting than on a strong shot. In other words, skill and technique are more important when golfers are around the hole; that applies to dominant actors like Johnsonwho are incredibly accurate at putting.
DeChambeau’s new stance challenges this long-held belief, and new data is backing his position. Looking at the aggregated stats for the 2020 PGA Tour season, a golfer’s tee-to-green performance was the most important factor when it came to finishing higher in a tournament.
This means that golfers who could travel longer and closer to the hole are more likely to finish in a higher position; those who have difficulty putting accurately may instead emphasize a strong, precise drive to place them closer to the hole. To do this, they need to enlarge and improve their driving range.
So far, DeChambeau is the only professional vocalist who insists that the future of golf is based on stronger tee-to-green drive statistics, but that is likely to change – especially if he makes more big wins on his long drive model can of success.
In the meantime, the PGA “old guard” seems keen to keep the focus. And for now, DeChambeau’s touch-and-go wins will require far more evidence of viability before other pros start adding fifty pounds of lean muscle like DeChambeau did in early 2020.