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Xander Schauffele Uses Data To Guide Tee-Shot Length

Episode 2: Xander Schauffele and the par-5 16th at TPC Southwind


Xander Schauffele considers the par-5 16th at TPC Southwind in Memphis a prime scoring opportunity. Hitting a good drive on the Aon risk-reward hole at this week’s PGA Tour stop can potentially result in a birdie. “Played properly and calculated, it can bear fruit,” says the PGA Tour pro and Aon ambassador. “But if you're not smart about how you position yourself, you run the risk of making par or bogey.” Referencing his yardage book, he believes the key is carrying the left-side mound off the tee, which gets the ball running to about 220 from the green’s front edge. He says. “If I'm hitting it great, my caddie lets me take on as much risk as possible because the reward’s big. His data gives me confidence to pull off the shot, because I know he's done his homework, run the analytics, and plugged my swing into the equation.” Schauffele also knows that since 2017, 60.4 percent of pros who’ve executed 300-yard tee shots here but missed the fairway still scored birdie or better—making a solid drive even more tempting. Then there’s wind to consider, should his approach drift right. “If it’s 20-to-30 miles per hour into the short side of the green, you can actually stop chips a lot faster—necessary knowledge when you're attacking this green,” says Schauffele. “All of these numbers and data give me confidence to make better decisions.” Talk about smart strategy.