By the numbers: A dip in driving distance on the PGA Tour

Sep 22, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tiger Woods plays his shot from the fourth tee during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

By the numbers: A dip in driving distance on the PGA Tour

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By the numbers: A dip in driving distance on the PGA Tour

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Distance is one of the most debated topics in golf. While the PGA Tour’s average driving distance last season was a record 296.2 yards, there is a trend afoot this season that few are talking about: Distance is down.

As shown in the accompanying chart, the Tour’s season-ending driving-distance average has gone up every year since 2013 and consistently tracked just above the average seen through the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

This year the PGA Tour driving-distance average through the Zurich Classic was 291.8 yards, which was two yards less than last season’s average at the same time.

If the season-ending average has dipped in September, too, the schedule of courses certainly will have played a role.

For example, the average driving distance at last year’s PGA Championship, held in August in steamy St. Louis, was 297.9 yards.

That figure could be tough to match given this month’s early-season PGA Championship at Bethpage. Similarly, the field’s average driving distance at last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills was 298.8, but this year’s event will be at Pebble Beach, where heavy ocean air could help decrease the field’s average.

   

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