With Every Bryson Dechambeau Win Brings Mounting Pressure On Tony Finau To Let Loose Off The Tee
Mar 9, 2021, 11:25 AM
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – PGA Tour’s longest hitter Bryson Dechambeau won his eighth PGA Tour event last weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in a show of brute strength and power.
Utah’s Tony Finau has only won once on the PGA Tour, yet, is ranked as the 14th best player in the world according to the Official World Golf Rankings. Finau has the capability to hit the golf ball further but decides to focus more of his attention on accuracy, hence why Finau’s backswing only goes back three-quarters of the way.
The pressure is mounting on Finau to win PGA Tour events. The start of the 2021 calendar year saw Finau finish with the most Official World Golf Ranking points than any other player in the world. He secured three consecutive second-place finishes but was never able to get over the line and win.
Bryson DeChambeau sees the game differently. pic.twitter.com/OayQ2DqXq0
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) March 7, 2021
The more success Dechambeau has, the more pressure builds on Finau. Dechambeau is now known as a generational talent who has transformed his body while also transforming the game of golf. Young golfers around the world are starting to put more of an emphasis on their bodies because of the success that Dechambeau is having.
At what point does Finau reconsider his tournament strategies and let loose? When will Finau follow in the footsteps of Dechambeau and utilize his length to help him win PGA tournaments?
In 2016, the same year that saw him win his only PGA Tour event, Finau was averaging 312.2 yards off the tee which was good for third-best on Tour only behind J.B. Holmes and Dustin Johnson respectively.
In 2020, Finau ranked tied for 13th on the Tour for driving distance with an average of 309.8 yards.
The game is changing. Players are hitting the ball further. In 2020, Dechambeau ranked as the longest hitter on Tour with an average of 322.1 yards off the tee.
Finau’s swing coach Boyd Summerhays once asked Dechambeau what his highest ever ball speed was.
“205.7 mph,” Dechambeau responded.
Weeks later, Finau uploaded a video on social media that went viral of him reaching 206 mph and carrying 383 yards at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington, Utah.
— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) July 11, 2020
That video sparked a worldwide conversation and debate.
If Finau has the ability to hit the golf ball at an elite level, why doesn’t he showcase that in a similar fashion to Dechambeau during tournaments?
Big Months Await
Finau is playing the best golf of his career. He is the most in-form player on the PGA Tour currently. But if he cannot figure out how to win, nobody will talk about his form, rather, the conversation will surround his inability to close.
Just a casual 370-yard drive by Bryson DeChambeau
— SI Golf (@SI_Golf) March 6, 2021
This week, Finau will tee it up at The Players Championship, the unofficial start to the major golf season. Millions of eyes will be placed on Finau and his golf game. Will he decide to swing harder and reach greater carries off the tee? Or will he continue to focus on ball placement and accuracy in the hope that his natural length and accuracy will ultimately lead him to success?
Granted, there is no correlation between driving distance and victories. However, Dechambeau has exposed golf courses as of late and has clearly given himself an advantage on the rest of the field based on how far he can hit the golf ball.
Dechambeau has eight PGA Tour victories while Finau has one. At some point, Finau will have to put more of an emphasis on reaching greater length off the tee with the hope that a second PGA Tour victory will come with it, that is of course if he cannot secure a second victory under his current strategic format.