Jordan Spieth is having one of the best seasons in the history of the PGA Tour with top-4 finishes at every major, including two wins, and more than $US10 million in earnings. But that hasn’t stopped some from expressing concern over his one perceived flaw, his driving distance.
Despite all his success, Spieth is amazingly mediocre off the tee in the era of big drives, ranking 77th on the Tour this year with just a 292.3 yard average. Joel Beall of Golf Digest pointed out that the disparity on drives between Spieth (who finished 2nd) and Jason Day (the eventual winner) in the final round of the PGA Championship was “jarring” noting that on some holes, the gap between their drives was 60 yards.
But does it matter? Not according to this chart. While the relationship is not overwhelming, there is a general trend that the longer you hit the ball on the Tour, the lower your score. But as you can see, there is one obvious outlier, Spieth.
In other words, the rest of Spieth’s game is so good, it doesn’t really matter how far he hits the ball off the tee.
Things are even more jarring when we pare down the results to just the golfers who average at least 290 yards off the tee. Now the relationship is even stronger (R2 jumps from 0.11 to 0.18) and Spieth is still sitting way out there by himself while most of the other golfers cluster around the trendline.
At the PGA Championship, Spieth noted that he works on his distance and has “gotten a little bit longer each year.” He also admitted he is a bit envious of the bombers, noting that players like Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson “are playing a different golf course, I certainly envy that.”
Based on the charts above, it would seem the other golfers should be envious of Spieth.
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