Kings of Distance: The Players


Each week on, we’ll detail which players pounded the farthest and fastest drives on the PGA Tour. Here are the five most important distance-related stats from the Byron Nelson Championship, won by Martin Kaymer:

Longest drive: Jamie Donaldson, 348 yards

Donaldson, who earlier this season accepted special temporary membership on the PGA Tour, hit his big blast on the 462-yard 18th, one of the most difficult driving holes at TPC Sawgrass. He tied for 38th at The Players. 

Recent leaders: Bud Cauley, 380 yards (Wells Fargo); Dustin Morris, 376 yards (Zurich); Charlie Beljan, 370 yards (Heritage); Rory McIlroy, 368 yards (Masters)

Driving distance: Bubba Watson, 306.1 yards

Watson led the field in driving distance, but it didn’t help him much at TPC Sawgrass, where he tied for 48th. He has said repeatedly that the layout doesn’t fit his eye, and that much was apparent again this year. He still hasn’t finished better than 37th in seven tries there.

Recent leaders: J.B. Holmes, 333.9 yards (Wells Fargo); Andrew Loupe, 314.5 yards (Zurich); Charles Howell III, 301.9 yards (Heritage); Bubba Watson, 305.6 yards (Masters) 

Carry distance: Bubba Watson, 293.4 yards 

Watson also led this category, for the first time since a 309.7-yard carry distance at Riviera, where he won.

Recent leaders: J.B. Holmes, 315 yards (Wells Fargo); Charles Howell III, 284 yards (Zurich); Andrew Loupe, 287 yards (Heritage); J.B. Holmes, 284.7 yards (Houston)

Clubhead speed: Gary Woodland, 123.70 mph

Woodland topped this category for the second week in a row, and he also improved his position on the leaderboard – from T-18 in Charlotte to T-11 at TPC Sawgrass. 

Recent leaders: Gary Woodland, 123.44 mph (Wells Fargo); Andrew Loupe, 124.14 mph (Zurich); Andrew Loupe, 123.85 mph (Heritage); Jhonattan Vegas, 122.07 mph (Houston)

Ball speed: Bubba Watson, 183.05 mph

Watson is the leader here for the first time since Doral, and he was more than 3 mph faster than last week’s leader, Jason Kokrak. 

Recent leaders: Jason Kokrak, 179.95 mph (Wells Fargo); Andrew Loupe, 184.35 mph (Zurich); Andrew Loupe, 183.92 mph (Heritage); Jhonattan Vegas, 180.96 mph (Houston)