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USGA, R&A 2018 Driving Distance Report finds 1.7-yard average increase in distance across all tours

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Released today, the USGA/R&A’s 2018 Annual Driving Distance Report analyzes driving-distance data from the seven men’s and women’s pro golf tours worldwide (PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA Tour Champions, Japan Golf Tour, and Ladies’ European Tour).

The fourth edition of the report found “driving distances on these seven tours increased by an average of 1.7 yards, beyond the previous year’s gain of more than 3 yards.”

Traditionally, driving distance is measured on two holes at each event. Across the seven tours, this equals more than 200,000 shots.

On the PGA Tour, the report found an increase of 3.6 yards on the holes where official driving distance was measured and a 1.8-yard uptick when all tee shots were factored in.

In accordance with the 2002 Joint Statement of Principles, the USGA and R&A stated their “commitment to ensure that skill is the dominant element of success throughout the game,” and pledged to keep close tabs on driving distance figures in professional golf.

According to the organizations, the 2018 report will be evaluated alongside data gathered in the Distance Insights project, which was launched in May of 2018.

Those involved with the project are expected to deliver an update during the first quarter of 2019.

You can read the full report here.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Greg V

    Jan 30, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    From the data, the LPGA has not gotten longer, while the Web.com Tour and PGA tour have.

    My conclusion, the very longest players can benefit from higher COR and lower spin driver heads; the ladies do not. Most of the rest of us do not, as well.

    I say bring back the COR for elite players – the same group that has to abide by the groove rule.

    • Jack Nash

      Jan 30, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      Good points for sure. I would like more if they got results from the Top 100 PGA pros. Many there bombthe ball. That could skew the number a lot higher I think.

  2. ~j~

    Jan 30, 2019 at 11:50 am

    I have a solution. Unlevel tee boxes for the pros. Not like the crap we pedestrians play on, but let’s see Brooks hit a drive off a 10* sloped tee box.

  3. Travis Goodspeed

    Jan 30, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Why don’t they just say the longest club in your back can be no more than 43” with no less than 12* loft and regulate face hotness CT/COR and be done with it? The long hitters would still be long, the short hitters still short, but you can shave off 40y across the board of everyone’s distance.

    • Jack Nash

      Jan 30, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Dammed if you do Dammed if you don’t. The ball makers come after you or the club makers. So what the ruling bodies do is sit on the fence. I would like to see the shaft length shortened. That’s a good idea like you said. As for loft they can bend that lower, and they do it now.

  4. appletree

    Jan 30, 2019 at 11:13 am

    IMO. It seems that much time and expense has gone into gathering all this data. Curiously, how does this data help a mid-handicap senior golfer like me? Scheiss’ comment as noted above hits the nail on the head for a very high percentage of the every day golfers. We can move forward a tee block or two. Work on our flexibility and fitness and our golf skills in general. These stats are not going to help us shoot lower scores or have more fun with our sport. So why go to this effort.

  5. Shallowface

    Jan 30, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Mark Twain may not have said it, but he certainly popularized it.

    “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies and statistics.”

  6. The dude

    Jan 29, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Its because of Trump!…

  7. Brian

    Jan 29, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Good thing no forum members are on any of the tours it would have been a 50yd increase.

  8. Tartan Golf Travel

    Jan 29, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    This is mostly because of the natural aging out of older shorter hitters and the rise of younger bigger stronger players.

    • Greg V

      Jan 29, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      That is an astute remark. But the fact remains, the young guns are too powerful for most of the courses that they play.

      • Tartan Golf Travel

        Jan 29, 2019 at 7:33 pm

        I don’t disagree but that just means what we need bifurcation. I belong to several clubs both in the states and in Scotland and I’m sure they all have one thing in common with the place you play…… every single member got a year older. The tour is getting younger. 99.9999% of the golfing population does not play the game they play. The ball and the clubs don’t need to be dialed back, the courses don’t need to be changed. The tours need their own set of rules if they are worried about distance. I’m a scratch player and I’ll turn 50 this year but I don’t hit it as far as I did when I was 20 or even 40 despite the gains that TaylorMade and the like have promised (lol).

        • Greg V

          Jan 30, 2019 at 2:09 pm

          I agree with bifurcation. There are so many older courses – a real treasure for the game – which are outmoded by modern equipment. Since the older courses are on the best properties, play to around 6500 yards or a bit more, doesn’t it make sense to shrink the modern game to fit the older courses. Not the other way around.

          Love to see a US Open at Merion with COR reduced for drivers, and a ball that goes shorter. Same with Pebble Beach.

          • Tartan Golf Travel

            Jan 30, 2019 at 7:02 pm

            Agreed. The game absolutely needs bifurcation.

  9. Tom

    Jan 29, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Uncle Rico added 40 yards per drive in 2018! Now he can hit it over that there mountain.

    • Scheiss

      Jan 30, 2019 at 10:15 am

      No need for bifurcation.
      The older members at our club, and I mean the older guys into their 60s and 70s and 80s have moved forward tees, sometimes a couple of tees, and some of them even play the same tees as their wives.
      So just move forward a tee.

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News

Morning 9: Beyond “nice guy Stricker” | McIlroy to skip Irish Open | Opinion: Romo shouldn’t accept sponsor’s exemption

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

February 21, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. More than just a nice guy
Steve Stricker is a fiery competitor and tactician who has the allegiance and respect of his players. So says Steve Dimeglio regarding the now-official 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
  • “On the surface, Stricker could be mistaken as being a softy, a man without a temper and one who is reluctant to put up a fight. That would be a mistake.”
  • “Well, everyone knows he’s such a nice guy, but beneath all of that exterior is this fieriness and this competitiveness,” Tiger Woods said Wednesday at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
  • “In other words, Stricker is as tough as he is nice, a nice combo that U.S. players can lean on in the 2020 Ryder Cup. On Wednesday Stricker, 51, was officially named the U.S. captain for Ryder Cup matches to be played in his home state of Wisconsin at Whistling Straits.”
2. He has their backs
Interesting tidbit from Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on one Patrick Reed.
  • “Stricker, who was named the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, said he’s already spoken with Patrick Reed about last year’s matches and that he doesn’t expect the American’s inflammatory comments following last year’s matches to be an issue in 2020.”
  • “As far as he’s concerned, and I am, too, it’s been handled,” Stricker said. “He’s apologized and spoke to the players. He spoke to me and I kind of asked him what to expect from him. He’s like, ‘You know what, I’ve got your guys’ back. I’m there for the team.'”
3. The inside scoop
An interesting story in particular, yes, but the general takeaway–PGA Tour pros sometimes settle on gamers in extremely atypical ways–is just as cool.
  • Our Ryan Barath talked with Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer, Chris Voshall, about the MP-32 irons Danny Lee was spotted with at the Genesis Open.
  • “We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.”
  • “I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds – I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like – is a pretty fun thought).”
  • “Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall…”The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”
4. Tiger moves Mexico
AP report on the Tiger Woods Effect at the WGC-Mexico Championship
  • “Golf is still in its relative infancy in Mexico, though the appeal changes when one of the most recognizable athletes in the world is in town. Security has increased this year, most of that because of Woods.”
  • “Grupo Salinas took over sponsorship of this WGC in the summer of 2016, when Woods was recovering from two back surgeries. There was no guarantee if his game would get back, so news of his decision to play last week was massive for small sector of golf fans in Mexico.”
  • “Tiger definitely moves the needle,” said Benjamin Salinas, the CEO of TV Azteca and lead voice for Grupo Salinas at the Mexico Championship. “When he announced he was coming, ticket sales leaped tenfold. He moves Mexico.”
5. Hot take: Romo is wrong
I’ll just let Carlos Monarrez take it from here regarding Tony Romo’s sponsor’s exemption into the Byron Nelson.
  • “Romo couldn’t get in the honest way, through a Monday qualifier like the hoi polloi who have to scratch and claw their way in.”
  • “Maybe some fans think it’s cute and harmless and will be curious to see how Romo will fare. But I’ve covered pro golfers for years, and I have too much respect for their struggle to watch an amateur with an inflated sense of himself pretend to be a pro for two days on his way to missing the cut badly.”
  • “And make no mistake, Romo will miss the cut. At last year’s Nelson, the cut came at 4-under-par. Amazing players like Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker missed the cut. Romo also got a sponsor’s exemption last March to the PGA Tour’s event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and he finished dead last among 132 players at 15-over.”
6. Pat Perez loves his Js
Helen Ross of PGATour.com talked to the singular Pat Perez about his affection for Jordans.
Here’s a morsel regarding Double P’s meeting with his Airness
  • “The relationship developed into a business pact, as well, and Perez now wears Jordan Brand shoes on the golf course. The two text often, and his Airness even sent Perez and his wife Ashley gifts when their daughter was born last year. Oh, and Perez loves getting shipments of Air Jordans for his collection.”
  • “Perez’s only regret? One day when the two had hit the links, Jordan was wearing a pair of VI golf shoes – which were “the only pair in the world,” Perez says.”
  • “After the round, Perez says, “I can’t, believe you made those into golf shoes.” To which Jordan replies, “Well, take them if they fit.”
7. Tiger Hood doc
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers...”What began as an activity to pass the time while trying to sell his photographs has “become a lifestyle” for Patrick Barr. Better known around the streets of New York City as “Tiger Hood,” Barr now spends much of his days and nights hitting empty milk cartons with a golf club. And he’s about to have even bigger galleries watching him in action.”
  • “A new documentary titled Neighborhood Golf Association by Nicolas Heller explores Barr’s life, career, and mostly his unusual hobby. Heller, the man behind the popular New York Nico Instagram account, does a nice job of showing the charismatic local legend in his element while also getting across Barr’s beautiful message of inclusivity.”
8. McIlroy to skip Irish Open
Gareth Hanna at the Belfast Telegraph on the news that Rory will be passing on his island’s Open.
  • “The world number eight was the tournament host from 2015 to 2018 and strived to place the Irish Open among the European Tour’s top events.”
  • “However, he says missing out on this year’s edition at Lahinch will give him a better chance of lifting the Claret Jug at the Open Championship in Portrush.”
  • “The Irish Open will be played, as is the norm, two weeks before the major in July…McIlroy has previously said that he will look to play the week before the four major tournaments this season and has now confirmed his intention to tee it up at the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club rather than the week before in County Clare.”
9. Wiezy’s back
Michelle Wie fired an opening-round 68 at the Honda LPGA Thailand in her first
competitive action since hand surgery in October.
Eun-Hee Ji leads at 9 under after one round. Scores.
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Abraham Ancer becomes Miura’s first PGA Tour ambassador

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Miura Golf has announced that Abraham Ancer will be the company’s first-ever PGA Tour ambassador ahead of this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.

As a PGA Tour ambassador for the club manufacturer, Ancer, who has played Miura clubs since 2017, will work directly with the Miura family in Himeji, Japan to craft his custom-designed forged irons and will don a Miura hat at tour events.

Speaking on the announcement, Ancer said

“I switched to Miura irons well before any partnership; I just wanted to play the best forged irons available. I am honored to represent Miura and look forward to introducing Miura to the Mexican market.”

Ancer as well as club fitter Genaro Davila (who initially fit Ancer for Miura clubs two years ago) have also teamed up with entrepreneur Gerardo Benavides to form Dead Solid Perfect (DSP) Golf Mexico, which will become the official distributor of Miura Golf in Mexico.

Hoyt McGarity, President of Miura Golf, shared his thoughts on the partnership, stating

“This is a first for Miura, and it was important to us that this partnership transcend the traditional sponsorship model. Abraham is the perfect partner to grow Miura’s presence on and off the course. As one of the most successful Mexican golfers ever, his personal investment in Miura is the strongest endorsement as we increase our operations in Mexico and other parts of the world.”

Ancer will tee it up for the first time since becoming Miura’s first PGA Tour Ambassador today at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The 27-year-old will play alongside Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau in the opening round at 2.03 pm ET.

 

 

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Equipment

Danny Lee’s Mizuno MP-32 irons: The real inside scoop!

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Hipsters are known for loving “old” stuff — you know the classics, the vintage, the retro. From vinyl, to thrift store sweaters, what’s old is new again. In the case of Danny Lee, he’s leading the charge as the PGA Tour’s iron hipster.

It should also be noted that “old” is a relative term, especially with golf equipment. Now when it comes to “classics,” Mizuno has produced some of the most recognizable irons of all time, including the Cut Muscle MP-32 released in 2004.

We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.

I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds — I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like — is a pretty fun thought).

Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall

“The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”

(HERES WHERE THE STORY GETS VERY INTERESTING)

“Here’s the part that makes the Danny’s set unique – During final development of the 32s, Luke was feeling that the soles for him were not getting through the turf the same as his previous MP-33s, but he loved the profile and extra forgiveness offered by the cut muscle design.

“By working with the Craftsman on the Mizuno team they created a unique sole profile for Luke that modernized that of the MP-33 for his new MP-32s. They rounded off and beveled the trailing edge of the 32s and had multiple sets made that he used during their entire run in the line.

“The tell tale of the Luke soled irons vs. the retail and standard version is how close the trailing edge of the sole is to the “Mizuno” on the back. What’s even more interesting about the development of that sole and grind is that every MP iron moving forward in the line starting with the MP-62 in 2008 utilized the exact sole profile of the one developed with Luke for the 32s and then 62s he used to become Number 1 player in the world.”

Below are comparison pics of Danny’s irons vs retail MP-32s and MP-62s

Danny Lee’s LD Grind 32s

Standard MP-32 7-iron – notice the amount of space above the “Mizuno” text

Right – MP-62 vs Standard MP-32

Danny Lees LD Grind 9-iron

Retail MP-32 9-iron

MP-62 9-iron vs retail MP-32

WOW! How cool is that insider information? True 14-year-old prototypes back in play on Tour! Now we know 100 percent the real story behind this very cool set and how it lead to historical Mizuno design changes that we still see in the MP line today!

 

NOTE: All Mizuno forged irons pre-2010 meet the 2010 USGA Conforming Groove rule; they were conforming before and are still conforming now. This is also part of the reason you don’t see many other classic irons on tour, except for maybe some from Ping which did do a few older models with new grooves –most notably D.A Points’ i5s irons. 

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