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Past Issues
57. Bryson 4.0 (2024-06-19)
56. Newsletter No. 56 (2024-06-12)
55. Valhalla Delivers? (2024-05-22)
54. Major Expectations (2024-05-15)
53. Major Moves (2024-04-17)
52. Masters Tidbits (2024-04-10)
51. On Site at The Players (2024-03-21)
50. Still Top Scheff (2024-03-13)
48. Taylor Triumphs (2024-02-15)
47. DG PIP Rankings (2024-02-07)
46. California Kids (2024-01-23)
45. Yuan Goes Yard (2024-01-17)
44. Brain Drain (2024-01-03)
43. LIV Fever (2023-12-06)
42. Nothing Major (2023-11-15)
41. Driving Machine (2023-11-08)
40. How's Traffic? (2023-10-18)
39. Lucky Luke (2023-10-11)
38. Postmortem (2023-10-04)
37. Ryder Cup (2023-09-27)
36. Letzig Returns (2023-09-20)
35. That's a Wrap (2023-08-29)
34. Pick 6 (2023-08-23)
33. Tale of Two Glovers (2023-08-16)
32. Forecasting the FedEx (2023-08-09)
31. Postseason (2023-08-01)
30. Major Letdown (2023-07-25)
29. Underdogs (2023-07-19)
28. Up and Down (2023-07-11)
27. Validation for Rickie (2023-07-05)
26. The Ams Strike Back (2023-06-27)
25. Wyndham Rewarded (2023-06-20)
24. The Show Rolls On (2023-06-13)
23. Scottie's Scaries (2023-06-08)
22. Grillo, Mi Amigo (2023-05-30)
21. Major Koepka (2023-05-23)
20. Glory's Second Shot (2023-05-16)
19. We Meet Again.. (2023-05-09)
18. Big Tone (2023-05-01)
17. Health Check (2023-04-24)
16. Live From Harbour Town (2023-04-17)
15. Phil Thrills (2023-04-11)
14. Down Magnolia Lane We Go (2023-04-03)
13. Peaking for Augusta (2023-03-27)
12. Fall of The DeChambino (2023-03-21)
11. Top Scheff (2023-03-13)
10. Fore Right! (2023-03-06)
9. CH3.. Wins? (2023-02-28)
8. The Rahm Slam (2023-02-21)
7. Garbage Time (2023-02-14)
6. Little Misery (2023-02-07)
5. Rory Returns (2023-01-30)
4. Rahm Threat (2023-01-23)
3. Rising Maverick (2023-01-16)
2. Morikawa's Meltdown (2023-01-09)
1. Introducing Letzig (2023-01-02)

Dunlap Debrief

How good is Nick Dunlap? Before his historic win at The American Express, he ranked 4th in our amateur rankings, behind Gordon Sargent, Caleb Surratt, and David Ford. On our list of the best amateurs since 2010—which ranks players by their best stretches of golf—Dunlap ranked 49th, with a peak skill level that was a full shot behind the best amateur on the list (Jon Rahm, in 2016).

Post-win, Dunlap leapfrogged Surratt and Ford in our current rankings (which won’t be reflected on our site until Wednesday), and moved into the top 30 on our all-time amateur list. For a useful reference, the trio of Hovland/Morikawa/Wolff all had skill levels around +0.5 (strokes/round better than an average PGA Tour field) when they turned pro in 2019; Dunlap’s skill currently sits right around 0. But Dunlap has a lot of things going for him: he’s only 20 years old, he’s already proven he can win on golf’s biggest stage, and his game took a huge step up in 2023 (and another to begin 2024).

Unsurprisingly, Dunlap’s performance is the best by an amateur on the PGA, European, or Korn Ferry tours in our amateur database. Here are the top 5 since 2010:

1. Nick Dunlap, 2024 American Express: +4.0 True SG per round, 1st
2. Michael Thorbjornsen, 2022 Travelers Championship: +3.1, 4th
3. Jon Rahm, 2015 Phoenix Open: +2.8, T5th
4. Viktor Hovland, 2019 U.S. Open: +2.5, T12th
5. Lee McCoy, 2016 Valspar Championship: +2.5, 4th


Back to Hitting #Bombs

When Justin Thomas first came out on Tour he, despite his slender frame, absolutely mashed the golf ball. But for the past few years—perhaps due to injury—he's dialed it back, trading off distance for more accuracy.

The plot below traces out Thomas' career in terms of driving distance and accuracy:

From the data, it seems like JT might be getting back to his old ways: in the second half of 2023 (post-U.S. Open), Thomas averaged 3 more yards in distance than in the first half. He also came out swinging at the American Express last week, averaging 16 yards longer off the tee than an average pro—similar to his younger, free-swinging self.

Of course, he wasn't very accurate.


California Kids

Since the PGA Tour returned from the Covid break in June 2020, 4 of the top 5 performing players in California (including Majors) are from ... ... California. Outside of Jon Rahm—who has feasted at Torrey and Riviera over the years—Californians Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, and Xander Schauffele have averaged the most strokes-gained per round among players who have played 25 or more rounds in the Golden State.

Max Homa has won 4 times in 14 starts (29%) in California since 2020, averaging +2.3 SG per round. Outside of California he's gained just 1 stroke/round.


Rankings Update

Rory McIlroy won the DP World Tour's Hero Dubai Desert Classic last week. Rory's T2-W start to the year wasn't enough to move him to the top of our rankings, but the gap between him and Scheffler has been greatly reduced—now only a tenth of a stroke per round.

Top 10 (see all)
Player DG OWGR
Scottie Scheffler 1 1
Rory McIlroy 2 2
Viktor Hovland 3 4
Xander Schauffele 4 1 5
Collin Morikawa 5 1 12
Jon Rahm 6 1 3
Patrick Cantlay 7 3 6
Max Homa 8 7
Tommy Fleetwood 9 11
Tyrrell Hatton 10 16 1
Notables
Justin Thomas 17 5 23 5
Sam Burns 20 6 22 2
Nick Dunlap (a) 136 90 68
Michael Thorbjornsen (a) 182 55 463
Jeremy Paul 246 106 283
Curtis Luck 282 108 277 7

In any normal week, amateur Michael Thorbjornsen's T11 finish in Dubai—which vaults him up to 182nd in our rankings—would create headlines. Unfortunately, another amateur played decent last week too.

Jeremy Paul won the season opener on the Korn Ferry Tour, kicking off another season-long battle for 30 PGA Tour cards. Curtis Luck, who was the betting favourite, came dead last. The Bahamas swing on the Korn Ferry Tour takes no prisoners.


Player Feature


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Past Issues
57. Bryson 4.0 (2024-06-19)
56. Newsletter No. 56 (2024-06-12)
55. Valhalla Delivers? (2024-05-22)
54. Major Expectations (2024-05-15)
53. Major Moves (2024-04-17)
52. Masters Tidbits (2024-04-10)
51. On Site at The Players (2024-03-21)
50. Still Top Scheff (2024-03-13)
48. Taylor Triumphs (2024-02-15)
47. DG PIP Rankings (2024-02-07)
46. California Kids (2024-01-23)
45. Yuan Goes Yard (2024-01-17)
44. Brain Drain (2024-01-03)
43. LIV Fever (2023-12-06)
42. Nothing Major (2023-11-15)
41. Driving Machine (2023-11-08)
40. How's Traffic? (2023-10-18)
39. Lucky Luke (2023-10-11)
38. Postmortem (2023-10-04)
37. Ryder Cup (2023-09-27)
36. Letzig Returns (2023-09-20)
35. That's a Wrap (2023-08-29)
34. Pick 6 (2023-08-23)
33. Tale of Two Glovers (2023-08-16)
32. Forecasting the FedEx (2023-08-09)
31. Postseason (2023-08-01)
30. Major Letdown (2023-07-25)
29. Underdogs (2023-07-19)
28. Up and Down (2023-07-11)
27. Validation for Rickie (2023-07-05)
26. The Ams Strike Back (2023-06-27)
25. Wyndham Rewarded (2023-06-20)
24. The Show Rolls On (2023-06-13)
23. Scottie's Scaries (2023-06-08)
22. Grillo, Mi Amigo (2023-05-30)
21. Major Koepka (2023-05-23)
20. Glory's Second Shot (2023-05-16)
19. We Meet Again.. (2023-05-09)
18. Big Tone (2023-05-01)
17. Health Check (2023-04-24)
16. Live From Harbour Town (2023-04-17)
15. Phil Thrills (2023-04-11)
14. Down Magnolia Lane We Go (2023-04-03)
13. Peaking for Augusta (2023-03-27)
12. Fall of The DeChambino (2023-03-21)
11. Top Scheff (2023-03-13)
10. Fore Right! (2023-03-06)
9. CH3.. Wins? (2023-02-28)
8. The Rahm Slam (2023-02-21)
7. Garbage Time (2023-02-14)
6. Little Misery (2023-02-07)
5. Rory Returns (2023-01-30)
4. Rahm Threat (2023-01-23)
3. Rising Maverick (2023-01-16)
2. Morikawa's Meltdown (2023-01-09)
1. Introducing Letzig (2023-01-02)