USGA Distance Myths, Vol. 5

USGA Distance Myth #4:

The longest hitters on the PGA Tour finish higher on the money list.

False.  While some long-driving professionals have been very successful, on average, the top 10 driving distance players have actually been falling down on the money list in recent years.  From 1980-85 the average rank was 64.2; in 2000-2005 it was 77.1. The second worst single year average rank on the money list of the longest 10 drivers was in 2004 with an average rank of 103.3.

Apparently myth #4 was designed to shoot down the theory that power has an extreme advantage in the game today. As with many of the other USGA myths, they seem to be creating the myths themselves to mask--surprise, surprise--reality.

And as with the previous USGA myths, does anyone believe this was a prevailing thought? That Scott Hend and Tad Ridings were finishing higher on the money list than the Todd Barranger's and Kelly Gibson's of the past?

The "myth" that nearly every PGA Tour player subscribes to is that power is more important than accuracy today. And that the top players are thriving because of their ability to hit the ball a long way.

That myth appears true when looking at this breakdown of 2005's money list, where distance superceded accuracy:

Top 30 Average:  70th in Distance, 105th in Accuracy

Top 10 Average:  69th in Distance,  111th in Accuracy

Reader Pete the Luddite also provided us with an interesting graph on this same subject, looking at distance, accuracy and the money list.