Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau paired in long ball showdown on Sunday
Sunday’s final round offers a matchup for the ages in golf’s power focused era.
Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau, who are taking swing speed to places no PGA Tour pros have gone before, will go off together at 1:20 p.m. PT.
Yes, the final round is about so much more than who’s really the longest driver in tournament golf, with both players starting three shots off the lead as they bid to claim their first major championship. Still, the matchup excites in the fireworks show it could offer.
DeChambeau is officially the PGA Tour’s longest hitter this season, averaging 324.4 yards per drive, more than 20 yards longer than he averaged last year, thanks in large part to the nearly 50 pounds of bulk he has added to his frame over the last several months.
Finau, however, believes he’s longer.
So does at least one of Finau’s tour brethren.
“Tony Finau is the longest one out here by far,” said Cameron Champ, who’s second to DeChambeau in driving distance this year.
Finau is just 19th in the Tour’s official driving distance, but, as Champ said Friday, Finau rarely ever goes at the ball full bore, something Finau acknowledges.
“I think if we were all to maybe tee up four or five golf balls on the range and just let loose, I have a hard time believing somebody is going to hit it farther than I am,” Finau said this week. “Just because I've always kind of had that speed.”
After DeChambeau revealed this summer that he topped out at 205.7 mph of ball speed, Finau released a video showing he hit 206.
“When I was younger, I got up to about 212 ball speed with a standard driver, which is pretty fast,” Finau said this week. “I don't know if I quite have that, but I got up to 206 there about a month ago, and that was only just trying for a day.
“I've got it in the tank, but I don't really know where it's going. So, I don't use it on the golf course.”
Finau, however, says DeChambeau is motivating him to see what he can do reaching for more power in tournament play.
“It no doubt inspired me,” Finau said last month. “I don’t think what he’s doing is rocket science, but it’s executing at that speed. Being able to see him swing that fast and hit it that straight got me thinking a little bit. I tried it out there on a couple of drives and was able to execute, so I think I’m going to start putting them into my game.”
Hitting fairways has been important at TPC Harding Park, so it will be intriguing to see how much these two allow themselves to let loose.
“It's a major championship, so you have to be more tactical,” DeChambeau said Saturday. “I said this week I felt like the rough isn't that penalizing. Well, it is now. It grew, and they haven't cut it, so that's a major, right. I've been a little more tactical in certain areas.”
Even with that, there looms the possibility that one of them overpowers his way to the trophy, further validating the approach as the best way to win, even in majors.