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The Numbers Game: Pound for Pound and Other Light Facts


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You expect big guys to hit it a long way, but sometimes there are some little guys that show a bit of pop. This week we find out who is the longest hitter pound-for-pound on the PGA Tour this year.

 

tng_title.gifThere are long drivers and there are short drivers of the ball. We had a recent forum discussion about this topic. Fellow staff member Jeff Gladchun was helpful in doing a bit of research and we both thought it might be interesting to share the results.

 

 

 

So who is the longest player pound for pound? What other interesting information did I see when doing this research? Read on to find out…

 

Little Big Hitters

At just about any juncture in golf history, there has always been a handful of big hitters. I mean big in both ways&hellip big in distance off the tee and big in physical stature. Jack Nicklaus was a big guy from Ohio. John Daly is short, but a stocky and large in multiple ways. Davis Love III is tall and long… heck, we have a guy named Bubba knocking it out there a country mile. All of these players had and have a size and strength advantage over smaller players.

 

 

 

So what about the little guy? I love seeing a well-struck golf ball, but even more so from someone you don't expect. Some of these players have refined their swings to maximize their swing speed and get the most from every part of their body. This is why there is a buzz surrounding guys like Camilo Villegas. So where does the Columbian and others like him rank pound for pound? Here are the top 30 in driving distance this year in order of yards per pound:

 

 

 

Player Name Height DD Weight Yard / lb

Camilo Villegas 69 306.3 160 1.9144

Charles Warren 68 298.1 160 1.8631

Henrik Bjornstad 68 300.4 163 1.8429

Jonathan Kaye 71 300.9 165 1.8236

Carlos Franco 69 300.1 165 1.8188

Adam Scott 72 308.3 170 1.8135

Rich Beem 68 297.8 165 1.8048

Bubba Watson 75 320.9 180 1.7828

Trevor Immelman 69 301.3 170 1.7724

Robert Garrigus 71 305.0 175 1.7429

Jimmy Walker 74 301.7 180 1.6761

Bubba Dickerson 72 297.6 178 1.6719

Roger Tambellini 75 299.3 180 1.6628

Tag Ridings 73 307.6 185 1.6627

David Duval 72 298.7 180 1.6594

Brandt Jobe 71 297.7 180 1.6539

JB Holmes 71 313.3 190 1.6489

Tiger Woods 73 304.8 185 1.6476

Fred Couples 71 301.7 185 1.6308

James Driscoll 72 299.0 185 1.6162

Phil Mickleson 74 299.8 190 1.5779

Harrison Frazar 72 298.4 190 1.5705

Jeff Overton 76 297.9 195 1.5277

Charley Hoffman 72 298.7 200 1.4935

Hank Kuehne 74 303.6 205 1.4810

Brett Wetterich 72 302.3 205 1.4746

Steven Bowditch 72 302.8 210 1.4419

John Daly 71 304.9 220 1.3859

Chris Couch 76 299.8 225 1.3324

Jason Gore 73 297.9 235 1.2677

 

As you can see, Villegas is tops when it comes to getting the most from the least. The svelte kid averaged 1.9144 yards for every pound in his body. Compare that to Bubba Watson, the leader in DD on tour, who averages 1.7828 yards per pound. If Bubba could get the same efficiency from his body as Villegas, he'd be averaging over 344 yards per drive. Even more staggering is if Jason Gore, the heaviest of the top 30 drivers on tour, could do the same he would average almost 450 yards.

 

 

 

Charles Howell, who is not on the list, is one of the other smaller players that have a high yards per pound average at 1.8632… good enough for second and he's only 83rd in DD. Rory Sabatini is another smallish guy that can hit it pretty hard as well. If I had more time, I'd pull all the data for all the players, but we'll look to do that another time…

 

 

 

Just for Fun

I thought it would be fun to see what the bottom 10 in DD looked like as well when it came to yards per pound.

 

 

 

Player Name Height Weight DD Yard / lb

Skip Kendall 68 150 270.8 1.8053

Corey Pavin 69 155 262.5 1.6935

Fred Funk 68 165 267.0 1.6182

Matt Gogel 70 175 270.0 1.5429

Mark O'Meara 72 180 269.7 1.4983

Robert Gamez 74 185 272.6 1.4735

Jim Furyk 74 185 270.8 1.4638

Brad Faxon 73 180 260.1 1.4450

Bart Bryant 72 195 272.8 1.3990

 

I was a bit surprised to see Skip Kendall with such a high yard per pound average. He'd be in the top 10 in the other list. Heck, even Corey Pavin beats out most of the longer players. I thought that there might be a few light players on this list, but that the distance difference would more than make up for that lack of weight. Bart Bryant was the only guy in the bottom ten in DD that weighed over 185 pounds.

 

 

 

Again, if someone has the bio data for all the players on tour, please send it along because I'd be curious to see if there is someone else on tour that would beat out Villegas.

 

 

 

Light Facts

So I thought that the column would end there, but there are a couple things that interested me. First was the height on a few of the golfers. I never knew that Rich Beem was only 5' 8" tall. Did anyone ever think that he was shorter than Fred Funk? The other player I thought was taller is Adam Scott. I have seen him from afar a couple times at the Open last year and thought he was at least 6' 2". It's probably because he has such a long, fluid swing.

 

 

 

The other fact that really bugged me was Phil's weight. 190? Hold on and back up the truck. I'm not going to criticize Phil for his conditioning, or lack there of. I've struggled with weight all my life… but come on. He might have been at 190 when he came on tour, but we've got to add about 20% to that number. If he and Hank Kuehne are the same height, there is no way that Hank is 15 pounds heavier. No way.

 

 

 

So with that I guess you can take the above pound-for-pound analysis with a grain of salt because it is only as good as the data. Still, if there were any issues with the data, I could have clean them up or throw them out. Phil was so far down the list I didn't bother changing his data… also it made for an interesting talking point and that's what I'm here for.

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