I especially enjoyed the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic watching the battle of the two BIG Ballers. As always, I was interested in Sir Nick’s commentary about the weakness in Mr. DeChambeau’s game – his wedges – and Sir Nick’s suggestion that he should invest in an equipment change to tighten up this weakness.
I was all in, not only as a big fan of Sir Nick and Jim Nance, but Bryson’s 6-iron length wedges have always looked very awkward to me. On Monday after the tournament, I received several calls from instructor clients/friends asking if I could support Sir Nick’s analysis. Never one to back down from a challenge I agreed to take a deep dive into the difference between Bryson’s game – and specifically changes from 2019 to so far in 2020.
WEDGE PLAY: 4 or 5 years ago I had my genius programmer create a special query for me to demonstrate exactly how proficient Zach Johnson’s wedge game was and is. It enables me to look at almost everything, but the two most important attributes I found are % Greens Hit and Average Down-in Score.
% GREENS HIT
You can see below that Bryson hit 78% of his targets in 2019 and improved to 86% this year. In other words, he improved his missed greens from 1 in every 5 attempts to 1 every 7. At an average of 3 of these shots per round, he misses less than 1 green every 2 rounds.
This is his average score for all attempts. Think of each wedge opportunity as an easy Par 3. Bryson improved his scoring average by .16 strokes. If we do the math on his Down-In improvement, it is .16/shots, times 114 shots in 2020 = 18 Strokes saved this year. In my studies of the value of a stroke on Tour, at Bryson’s current TOP-10 level, each stroke is worth $50-70,000. Let’s call it $60,000 x 18. It amounts to a cool MILLION in his Wedge play alone. I tip my hat to him!
In my next post, I will discuss the dramatic change in Bryson’s Driving – is it all good or does distance have its perils?