The Loop

Is it a problem that Jason Day hit a drive 382 yards? 'Do you have a problem with Usain Bolt running half a second under 10?'

August 16, 2015

Winner Jason Day averaged 312.4 yards per drive in the final round of the PGA Championship on Sunday and hit one 382 yards. Bubba Watson had a drive that exceeded 400 yards.

This spawned an interesting conversation on Golf Channel's "Live From the PGA Championship" show about the new generation of bombers, to what degree equipment is responsible, and whether it's good for the game.


Jamie Squire

(Getty Images)

"You can debate equipment, you can debate golf balls," David Duval said. "I think it was a heckuva lot of fun to watch what happened today and this week. There's some sheer talent and skill with that. To watch golf played this way is exciting."

"You don't have an issue with 380-yard drives, 370-yard drives, and we saw quite a few this week?" Rich Lerner asked.

"I don't," Duval replied. "But you're also talking about fairways that are chasing, you're talking about going down some slopes. But you're talking about people who are trained, who optimize golf balls, optimize the drivers, optimized video and their teaching. That's where the game is and it's not going to change and it's not going to go backwards."

Brandel Chamblee then asked rhetorically, "Do you have a problem with Usain Bolt running about a half a second under 10? No, you don't. That is the evolution of an athlete.

"You go back to when they started measuring clubhead speed out here and it wasn't that long ago, in 2007. In every single spot, they're faster. They're faster. They're faster. The [equipment] limits were set along that time, so it is the athlete that is better. This is the only sport I know where when they light it up we all have a knee-jerk reaction to respond and say, well, the equipment, the equipment.' At some point you do have to celebrate the athlete. I don't think anybody watches Usain Bolt break the tape and go, it's the shoes.'

"Yeah, I get it. They've got longer drivers, they've got bigger heads. But these guys don't look anything like the previous generation, and they didn't look anything like the previous generation to that. It is a beautiful landscape out here. They're fit and they can flat swing it hard."