Let’s continue with our 2 part 2018 year in review.
- THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
The youth movement is in full effect on the PGA TOUR.
The 2018 season brought 10 wins by players 25 or younger, which according to the record books in the second-most of any season. Back in 2000, there were also 10 wins by the under 25 crowd, in which Woods had all but one of them.
The record holding season for the under 25 age group was in 2017 with 18 wins by the youngsters. This seasons drop off could be due to Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele having no wins when just a short year ago the two combined for five wins. The 2018 season brought 6 golfers age 25 or under – Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Michael Kim, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Aaron Wise – who won. For Cantlay, Kim and Wise it was their first PGA TOUR victory. Wise, only 22, qualified for the TOUR Championship. Only Woods, Spieth, Garcia and SW Kim have made the season finale at a younger age.
The 2018 season also brought us Joaquin Niemann, who earned his PGA tour card with just 11 impressive starts! Niemann, just 19 years old, turned pro as the world’s top amateur.
Think about it; in football and hockey, most top prospects come from college Golf used to be like baseball or hockey. The top prospects from college and amateur golf used to need a few years to hone their game before becoming stars. Not so much the case these days. Making the TOUR before age 25 was a rare accomplishment, and winning before 30 was icing on the cake. The tour players these days are getting younger and the accomplishments are as well.
- THE BIG BALL RULES
Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson (who workout together), are just two of the big bashers having success on the TOUR these days. Crucial to the success of the players today are Launch monitors, space-age technology, advanced diet and exercise regimens which help players maximize their distance. With that being said, it’s no surprise that driving the ball a long way is one of the most important components to your game these days.
What’s the success marker for the PGA Tour? Let’s start with the strokes gained stat. Out of the top 30 players in the TOUR Championship, 13 finished in the top 20 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Of the top 10, 8 in that statistic were at East Lake. Seven of the top 11 in driving distance were at the TOUR Championship, as well.
Rory McIlroy led the TOUR this year with a driving average of 319.8 yards – only Hank Kuehne has averaged higher with 321.4 in 2003 – and that was seven yards longer than John Daly. Only nine players have surpassed 300 yards in driving average.
What’s changed in the 15 years since 2003? In 2018, McIlroy was less than 1 yard ahead of Trey Mullinax. Instead of only 9 players, 2018 saw 61 players averaging 300 or more yards. McIlroy, Koepka and Johnson each hit more than 60 percent of their tee shots longer than 300 yards. More than 30 percent of their tee shots went longer than 320 yards. That’s some impressive distance and that hopefully translates into more birdies.
Don’t forget that even though the PGA Tour season may be over, yours doesn’t have to be! Fall is a great time to enjoy the cooler weather and get out on any of the 80+ Myrtle Beach golf courses for a Fall Golf Package – give us a call or book your Myrtle Beach tee time online at www.myrtlebeachteetimesnow.com
We’ll wrap up the things we’ve learned from 2018 with our next blog post – part 3 is next!
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