There was a time when Davis Love III was the longest hitter on the PGA Tour.
In 1986, Love, then 22 years old, was in his second year as a pro. He led the Tour in driving distance, at 285.7 yards.
On Thursday, now 56 years old, Love played alongside Bryson DeChambeau and got an up-close look at what all the recent Bryson rage has been about.
“Well, now I know how I made some guys feel, I guess,” Love said after a 1-over 72. “He got me really good at 16. That’s when I realized, holy moly, because I hit a good drive at 16 and he just flew it over into the corner.”
For the record, DeChambeau hit it 335 yards at the par-4 16th. Love hit it 282 yards.
“I’m still at my number I was back in ’86,” Love said. “You know, I hit it 285. That’s no good anymore. I progressed, and then I regressed.”
DeChambeau, who posted 67, said he “couldn’t unleash the Kraken” in Round 1, hitting driver only five times. But DeChambeau’s length, combined with his accuracy around the tight Harbour Town Links layout – he hit nine of 14 fairways – awed the 21-time PGA Tour winner.
“That’s what is impressive,” Love said. “With the TrackMan, with the training, with putting a lot of thought into it, you can figure out a way with your body and your swing to pick up some distance and still hit it straight. Technology and good thinking is helping these guys get longer and straighter.”
DeChambeau is currently leading the Tour in driving distance, at 323.8 yards. Love also led the Tour in distance in 1994, at 283.8. Love’s longest average for a year was in 2005, when he averaged 305.4 yards, eighth best on Tour.