Before the PGA Championship began, our course fit tool
described the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
as a layout that would favour accurate players more than the typical PGA Tour course, but offer only the standard advantage to bombers.
This was based off data from the 2012 PGA Championship, but the pattern has persisted through 3 rounds this week, with length and accuracy being
rewarded about equally according to our models.
Bryson’s driving data can help illustrate why distance offers less of an advantage
than you might think given the Ocean Course’s scorecard length. There are 5 holes this week
where a reasonable amount of players aren’t hitting driver: 1, 3, 4, 12, and 13. On these five holes
Bryson is averaging 5.2 yards less
than the field’s average driving distance, while on the
remaining tee shots he is averaging 32
Overall this still works out to a healthy 19 yard average advantage on the 14 driving holes (which
narrowly leads the field
but for a man simply known as “Big” that’s not as much separation as he's become accustomed to.