Who is the longest player on the PGA Tour? Restricting our attention to the last 15 years, there are really only
a few candidates to consider: Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and J.B. Holmes. Below I've plotted
our predicted driving distance for each golfer over time. As with
, these predictions are based off driving
distance numbers that have been adjusted for course-specific conditions and are interpreted relative
to an average PGA Tour professional.
The mid 2000s versions of Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes were separating themselves from the field off-the-tee
by around 30 yards, a feat we haven't really seen consistently since then. The narrowing of the gap between Watson and Holmes
and the field average likely speaks more to how the field average has changed over time than changes
to Watson and Holmes' games. To answer the question posed in the outset, I would give the slight nod to Dustin
In 2018 however, a new contender emerged for the title of longest-on-tour: Cameron Champ. Champ
has the longest predicted driving distance in our data at any point in time, at +33 yards relative to the tour average, recorded in November 2018. As
you can see in the plot, despite our predicted driving distances bouncing around a fair bit, Champ has had the highest predicted distance
at every point in time since he joined the PGA Tour; impressive stuff.