No player in golf has generated more buzz through the first seven weeks of the 2018-’19 PGA Tour season than rookie Cameron Champ. In five starts, the former Texas A&M Aggie is averaging a ridiculous 328.2 yards off the tee, almost 10 yards longer than last year’s Driving Distance king, Rory McIlroy. But if you think that’s absurd, consider this: In his first year as a professional on the Web.com Tour last season, the California native averaged 343.1 yards—for an ENTIRE season! That’s almost 30 yards longer than “Bash Brothers” Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. Thirty yards!
Through last weekend’s The RSM Classic, the Sacramento, Calif., native led the Tour in the following driving stats:
- Driving Distance (328.2 yards)
- Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee (1.483)
- Average Clubhead Speed (130.20 mph; the next closest is Gary Woodland at 124.79 mph)
- Average Ball Speed (193.61 mph; Brandon Hagy is the next closest at 186 mph)
- Carry Distance (321.7 yards)
- Distance to Apex (220.6 yards)
When you take into account that Champ is barely 6-feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, the above numbers are even more remarkable.
So just how does he generate so much clubhead speed and power from his modest frame? A key is just how he uses his hips—in particular, the flexion and extension of the hips—says Golf Channel Academy lead coach Tom Rezendes. Like Johnson, McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson and so many of today’s longest hitters, he flexes his hips about 25 degrees at address and then gradually lowers himself on the backswing and start of the downswing before exploding up and going into full extension at impact. It’s like a broad jumper squatting and applying more pressure down into the ground so that he can use the ground to propel himself forward.
Both of Champ’s heels come up off the ground! This vertical springing action helps Champ create more speed and energy at impact. Couple that with very high hands at the top of the backswing and an extremely low launch angle of 7.31 degrees and you get a ball that explodes off the clubface like it was shot out of a cannon.
For more on Champ’s swing, check out the following driver sequence and analysis from Rezendes on GolfChannel.com.