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DISTANCE LEADERS

You simply will not believe how many players averaged more than 300 yards in driving distance on the PGA Tour this season

August 30, 2022
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Kevin C. Cox

The PGA Tour season is over and Rory McIlroy walked away with the biggest prize, topping Scottie Scheffler in the Tour Championship last week at East Lake to collect $18 million.

So, before the next season starts in just two weeks, there’s time to scour the tour’s final statistics from the 2021-2022 season and look for interesting nuggets.

Look no further than driving distance.

For the first time in PGA Tour history, more than half the tour averaged at least 300 yards off the tee. A whopping 99 players out of 193 registered in the statistic eclipsed the magic number.

Sure, there are several factors for increased distances over the years, but we’re simply looking at the numbers. No more, no less.

Cameron Champ topped the list this season at 321.4 yards and McIlroy was close behind in second place at 321.3 yards. Scroll down the list and you’ll find both Hayden Buckley and Chris Kirk tied for 98th place at a 300.1 yards per drive average.

Alex Noren, at 100th, is the first player on the list sub-300 at 299.8 yards. Players Championship and Open Championship winner Cameron Smith is 101st at 299.7 yards.

Brian Stuard rounds out the list in 193rd place at 277.4, which coincidentally is the exact same average that tour leader John McComish recorded in 1983 during a season in which he made 13 of 27 cuts and collected two top-25 finishes.

john-daly-1996.jpg

John Daly was the first player in history to top a 300-yard driving average for the year when he did so in 1997 at 302.0 yards. He did not reach the mark the following year, but then did the next four consecutive years when he topped the overall statistic.

The list of leaders since 1980 can be found below, but here are some other comparisons from over the years.

In 1982, the 100th-ranked players in driving distance—Ben Crenshaw and George Archer—were at 254.9 yards. Ten years later it was 259.4 with Jeff Sluman and Leonard Thompson. In 2002, when Daly averaged over 300 yards, the 100th-ranked players—Brad Elder, Shigeki Maruyama, Mike Weir—were at 280.0. Ten years ago in 2012, Bubba Watson topped the list at 315.5 yards per drive and the 100th-ranked players—Tim Herron, Marc Leishman—were at 289.4 yards.

Last year 61 players averaged at least 300 yards although 72 did so in 2020. Fifty reached the number in 2019, and only 27 did back in 2016.

As far as sheer drives of 300 or more yards on tour this last season, the PGA Tour supplied data to Golf Digest saying that 56,930 drives went at least that distance. For more context, that is 27.67 percent of drives on tour that went more than 300 yards.

Once you move up to the 350-yard mark, there were 3,775 drives of at least that distance. There were 74 drives of 400 yards or longer and yes, there was one recorded drive of at least 450 yards. Scott Stallings hit a mammoth shot of 460 yards on the 15th hole in the second round of the WM Phoenix Open. He tied for 21st place that week at TPC Scottsdale.

Here is a look at the driving distance leaders for each year since 1980:

2022: Cameron Champ (321.4 yards)
2021: Bryson DeChambeau (323.7)
2020: Bryson DeChambeau (322.1)
2019: Cameron Champ (317.9)
2018: Rory McIlroy (319.7)
2017: Rory McIlroy (317.2)
2016: J.B. Holmes (314.5)
2015: Dustin Johnson (317.7)
2014: Bubba Watson (314.3)
2013: Luke List (306.3)
2012: Bubba Watson (315.5)
2011: J.B. Holmes (318.4)
2010: Robert Garrigus (315.5)
2009: Robert Garrigus (312.0)
2008: Bubba Watson (315.1)
2007: Bubba Watson (315.2)
2006: Bubba Watson (319.6)
2005: Scott Hend (318.9)
2004: Hank Kuehne (314.4)
2003: Hank Kuehne (321.4)
2002: John Daly (306.8)
2001: John Daly (306.7)
2000: John Daly (301.4)
1999: John Daly (305.6)
1998: John Daly (299.4)
1997: John Daly (302.0)
1996: John Daly (288.8)
1995: John Daly (289.0)
1994: Davis Love III (283.8)
1993: John Daly (288.9)
1992: John Daly (283.4)
1991: John Daly (288.9)
1990: Tom Purtzer (279.6)
1989: Ed Humenik (280.9)
1988: Steve Thomas (284.6)
1987: John McComish (283.9)
1986: Davis Love III (285.7)
1985: Andy Bean (278.2)
1984: Bill Glasson (276.5)
1983: John McComish (277.4)
1982: Bill Calfee (275.3)
1981: Dan Pohl (280.1)
1980: Dan Pohl (274.3)