Putting prowess remains the most important aspect of winning a LIV Golf tournament. Of the 13 regular-season winners in 2023, five ranked as the top putter in the field during their victorious week, while five others ranked in the top 10.
Meanwhile, only one winner led the field in driving distance (Bryson DeChambeau in Chicago) and only one winner shared the best driving accuracy percentage (Talor Gooch in Adelaide).
So given all that, naturally we're going to focus on ... driving. Why? Because it’s fun. Drive for show and all that. There’s a reason why two LIV Golf teams are named Crushers GC and Smash GC. Flatstick GC just doesn't do it. Everybody (presumably) still digs the long ball.
With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the 2023 LIV Golf League season through the lens of the tee shot.
Two pre-determined holes are selected for each round to measure driving distance, a traditional approach for golf statistical calculations. Here are the top 10 measured drives from 2023 (and yes, you may be surprised who authored some of these):
Tucson/Rd. 1, 17th
Harold Varner III
Adelaide/Rd. 3, 10th
Jeddah/Rd. 3, 9th
Orlando/Rd. 2, 10th
Tucson/Rd. 2, 5th
Chicago/Rd. 3, 10th
Jeddah/Rd. 2, 9th
Andalucia/Rd. 2, 17th
Singapore/Rd. 1, 18th
Chicago/Rd. 2, 10th
Of the 3,832 measured tee shots this season, 101 were 350 yards or longer – just 2.6%. Surprisingly, the contributing players were not concentrated in a small group.
Of the 48 full-time players in LIV Golf this season, 38 produced at least one 350-yard bomb – including Sihwan Kim, who ranked last this year in average driving distance. Kim actually had two 380-yarders, both coming in the regular-season finale in Jeddah when he ranked second in the field in driving distance. It was further proof that he had overcome his troubles off the tee that plagued him most of this season that ended in relegation.
Not so surprising, Bryson DeChambeau had the most 350-yarders with 14, followed by Peter Uihlein (9), and Dean Burmester (6). Dustin Johnson, Matthew Wolff and David Puig had five each.
The tournament with the most 350 drives was LIV Golf Andalucía at famed Valderrama with 18. Orlando was next at 17.
The hole and round with the most 350-yarders came during the second round in Orlando at the 459-yard par-4 10th. Of the 48 tee shots struck there, nine were measured at 350 or more, led by Burmester’s blast of 387.5 yards. Just two tee shots that day at the 10th were less than 300 yards.
Credit wind gusts up to 21 mph, and a change in wind direction from the previous round. Saturday’s round was played with a helping westerly round, while Friday’s first round was played into an easterly wind (with no tee shots going 350 yards on the 10th hole that day).
Bryson DeChambeau didn’t have the longest measured drive of the season – but the Crushers GC captain did have the shortest one.
No, that’s not a misprint.
DeChambeau’s drive at the par-5 11th in the final round at Andalucia was measured at 144.0 yards. Obviously, there’s a reason: He duck-hooked it. And when Bryson duck-hooks it at his ball and clubhead speeds … well, watch out.
Actually, it was the first of three tee shots at the 11th that day for DeChambeau, who was leading by one shot at the time. His first tee ball was so far left that he played a provisional. His second tee ball was even worse, so he played another provisional. “I duck-hooked it pretty much three times off the tee,” DeChambeau said.
Talor Gooch, DeChambeau’s playing partner and closest pursuer, was casually eating an apple while watching the drama unfold. DeChambeau found his original shot in the rough beyond the hedges running down the left side and managed to salvage par.
“Luckily I found the first ball,” DeChambeau recalled a few months later. Said Gooch: “You’re so lucky.”
But the damage had been done with the 144-yard pop. His failure to birdie the 11th would come back to haunt him, as he lost to Gooch by one shot.
The 144-yarder was one of eight measured drives this season under 200 yards.
Click here to watch full recap of the final round in Andalucia on LIV Golf Plus. DeChambeau's 11th-hole drama starts around the 2 hour, 49 minute mark.
Just five players this season went through an entire round hitting every fairway:
Harold Varner III - 14 of 14 in third round, Tucson
Brendan Steele - 14 of 14 in second round, Orlando
Louis Oosthuizen - 14 of 14 in first round, Singapore
Cameron Smith - 14 of 14 in first round, Singapore
Henrik Stenson - 14 of 14 in third round, Jeddah
Driving distance and fairways hit rankings in the 48-player fields for each of the 13 regular-season individual champions:
|TOURNAMENT||WINNER||DRIV. DISTANCE||FW HIT|
Charles Howell III
Harold Varner III
At LIV Golf, we celebrate podium finishers. Here are the top 3 individuals and teams for driving distance and fairways hit this season:
Individuals - 1. Peter Uihlein (322.5 avg); 2. Dean Burmester (318.2 avg); 3. Bryson DeChambeau (316.8 avg)
Teams - 1. Torque GC (311.3 avg); 2. 4Aces GC (308.4 avg); 3. Stinger GC (308.3 avg)
Individuals - 1. Henrik Stenson (75.14%); 2. Abraham Ancer (72.56%); 3. Louis Oosthuizen (67.55%)
Teams - 1. Majesticks GC (65.62%); 2. Iron Heads GC (63.72%); 3. Fireballs GC. (63.66%)
1. The most celebrated tee shot of any kind this season was with a 9-iron. Chase Koepka’s ace on the Watering Hole during the final round in Adelaide set off a celebration rarely seen in golf. “I smelled like beer the whole entire rest of the day,” Chase said. “It was wild.” The cups may still be flying. …
2. Bryson DeChambeau credits the Krank Golf driver that he put in his bag prior to Greenbrier for helping to turn around his season. “That's really ultimately what did it,” he said. The driver gave him more confidence off the tee with his accuracy (see above, Andalucía), and the numbers bear him out. Before Greenbrier, his fairway accuracy was 53.87%. For the last four regular season events starting with Greenbrier, he hits 60.7% of his fairways. That includes a startling 71.43% at Greenbrier when he shot 61-58 on the weekend to win. …
3. Season-long driving distance leader Peter Uihlein led the field in that category in five of the first six tournaments but didn’t lead the field in any of the final seven regular-season events. Dean Burmester, who ranked second in driving distance, led the field in four of the final seven events. …
4. Credit Torque GC for being the most balanced team off the tee this season. Not only did they rank first in team driving distance, Joaquin Niemann’s lineup also ranked fourth in driving accuracy. No wonder they won a league-best four team trophies this year.