Commish Monahan To Players: You Are Not Hitting The Ball Significantly Longer, But You Are Younger And Taller!

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan's email to all PGA Tour players assuring them that they just had a better than usual year. And hey, you're younger and taller too! 

Subject: USGA Distance Report
Dear TOUR Member,
Later this morning, the USGA and The R&A will be releasing an annual report on driving distance that reviews data from professional tours from the 2017 season.  Since 2003, we have been closely monitoring trends in driving distance, working with the USGA and The R&A; all involved wanted to ensure the broader PGA TOUR membership was made aware of the report and its findings in advance.
Among other things, the report shows the following:
- From 2003 to 2017, average driving distance on the PGA TOUR has increased by 2.3%, or a total of 6.6 yards.
- From 2016 to 2017, there was an increase of 2.5 yards in average driving distance.  While this may seem significant when taken in isolation, it has not been uncommon over the past 15 years to see significant gains or losses.  Since 2003, there have been three instances where a significant gain was recorded between years, and five instances where the average decreased.
- Since 2007, when we started monitoring launch conditions each week on TOUR, average club head speed has increased by 1.5 mph.  There is a strong correlation between club head speed and the total distance gains seen since 2003.  We believe this increase in club head speed is mostly attributable to a combination of factors, such as increased player athleticism and fitness, physical build of the player, enhancements in equipment fitting and the proliferation of launch-monitoring capabilities.  

Back to back redundancies. Impressive. 

It is interesting to note that since 2003, the average age of a TOUR member has gone down, and the average height has gone up.

No, that's not very interesting, Jay.

Having carefully reviewed the data, we do not believe the trends indicate a significant or abnormal increase in distance since 2003 or from 2016 to 2017. Rest assured, we will continue to collaborate and share data with the USGA and The R&A – along with other industry stakeholders – in monitoring these trends, as we have since 2003, and are hopeful our perspectives will align.  

So to recap: the leadership of the organization providing the data is taking a stance and hopes that "perspectives align" with the view that nothing has taken place to warrant action.

Kind of hard to trust the data when the boss makes it clear he wants it to skew one way, no? Almost makes you want to go back and look at the numbers since so many speak to major changes, just not the ones he refers to.

On this point, I have asked the USGA to attend our next PGA TOUR Player Advisory Council meeting during the week of the Wells Fargo Championship to share their perspective.
Jay Monahan