Bryson DeChambeau made history on Sunday when he fired off a final round score of 58 at the LIV Golf Greenbrier to win the individual title. It was the first sub-60 score and the lowest score in LIV Golf history but analytics is calling the achievement into question.
There have only been 12 sub-60 rounds in PGA Tour history. Bryson DeChambeau firing off a 58 on Sunday after shooting a 61 on Saturday was arguably the best 2-day stretch of competitive golf ever seen, at least on the surface.
According to DataGolf, Bryson DeChambeau’s 58 at the Greenbrier wasn’t nearly as impressive as it seemed to be. Their analytical model, using ‘strength-of-field adjusted strokes gained’, puts Bryson’s round of 58 as just the 328th best round in competitive golf history.
It isn’t abundantly clear why strength-of-field would have any bearing whatsoever on strokes gained when everyone in the field is a pro and strokes gained are measured against the competition, but their model significantly devalues Bryson’s 58.
From this week's newsletter, some data on Bryson's 58: pic.twitter.com/O0yXcOVAOk
— data golf (@DataGolf) August 9, 2023
Comparatively, when Jim Furyk shot a 59 at the 2013 BMW Championship he gained 13.1 strokes against the field. Tiger Woods gained 10.9 agains the field at the 2013 WGC Bridgestone. So did Bryson himself, he gained 10.9 strokes against the field in round 2 of the 2021 BMW Championship.
Bryson’s 59 at the LIV Golf Greenbrier? He only saw +8.7 strokes gained against the field. The DataGolf explanation is as follows:
“The par-70 Old White GC played almost 3 shots under par for the week, averaging 66.74 in the final round. For reference, only three courses have yielded a lower single-round scoring average on the PGA Tour since 2004. Even though DeChambeau shot 58, he only gained 8.74 strokes on the field.”
I’m inclined to say a 58 is a 58, but Bryson himself seems to think that scoring is easy with the right mindset.
After his record-setting round at the Greenbrier, DeChambeau encouraged junior golfers to play from the red tees. Bryson believes by playing up close that golfers can learn to score low and break 60. After that, they can move back and lean on distance but still go low. At least that’s how it works in Bryson’s brain.