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The Loop

Davis Love actually hits it much farther than he did when he last won in Greensboro

August 24, 2015

By now, you've probably heard that Davis Love III, 51, became the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history on Sunday. And if you watched any of his Wyndham Championship victory, you know he can still crank it. But it might surprise you just how far Love still hits it -- and how much farther he hits it than he did the last time he won in Greensboro nine years ago.

For the week at Sedgefield CC, Love averaged 297.2 yards off the tee at the short (by PGA Tour standards) layout. Nine years ago, Love averaged 290.8 yards per drive when he won down the road at Forest Oaks CC.

To further demonstrate how golfers have gained distance thanks to advancements in technology, check out the difference in where Love ranked against the rest of the field in driving average those weeks. In 2006, he was fourth. This year? Tied for 32nd.

Love gave up 20 yards off the tee on measured drives to this year's leader Brooks Koepka, who averaged 317.1 yards at the Wyndham. Of course, to win, Love measured up well in other statistical categories, most notably strokes gained/putting in which his 2.273 average placed him third.

In Love's most recent previous tour win, which came seven years ago at the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Classic, he ranked 14th in the field with an average of 289.9 off the tee. Like this past event, Love averaged 20 yards less than that week's longest hitter, J.B. Holmes (309.8).

When Love broke onto the PGA Tour he was arguably the longest hitter. He consistently finished in the top 10 in driving distance for his first 20-plus years on tour, leading in that category in 1986 (285.7) and 1994 (283.1). This year he ranks 56th at 294.7.

Now eligible for the Champions Tour, Love is no longer one of the game's bombers. But he proved this week he can still hit it far enough -- and do everything else well enough -- to compete with the game's young guns.