Brandon Matthews began working on his driving distance around the age of four or five, when most children are lucky to be out of diapers and preparing for kindergarten. In his second PGA Tour start, the Wells Fargo Championship, he’ll show off what has become one of the world’s longest drives.
Consider the following scenario: it’s the early 2000s. A bright-eyed Matthews grabs his father’s hand as they go to the par-4 15th hole at Emanon Country Club in Falls, Pennsylvania, where the tee and fairway are separated by a small lake. Ted Matthews places his son on the red tee, which has a distance of about 60 yards to cover, and the instruction begins.
“As soon as I got it over, he moved me back a tee, and then he did the same thing from the next tee back,” Matthews said Tuesday at TPC Potomac in Potomac, Maryland. “I was just trying to hit it as hard as I could from a young age, so I acquired power before I gained technique.”
How long has Matthews been around?
He’s had to pull the driver out of his bag two out of the last three weeks because there hasn’t been a hole he could hit with it. Although hitting his standard 4-iron over 250 yards isn’t necessarily a negative thing, Matthews acknowledges it’s been “difficult to accomplish” because it’s his strength.
“Obviously, having driver in the bag gives me a tremendous edge, especially if I’m hitting it well and consistently and feeling good about it,” he says “he stated “So far this week, I’m happy with it, and it’s fantastic to have that stuff back in the bag.”
With 331.3 yards of driving distance, this advantage led the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019. He averaged 333.7 yards and 341.5 yards in the two years before that, in 2018 and 2017.
Last season’s Tour leader, Bryson DeChambeau, averaged 323.7 yards per round. At 323.5 yards, Cameron Champ is the current Tour leader.
“My typical one, the ‘fairway finder cruiser,’ will fly somewhere around 3 – little over 330 [yards], and then if I kind of elevate one, I can go north of 340,” Matthews said of his current driving distance.
Matthews, a Temple golf alum, has split his time between the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and the Korn Ferry Tour, where he is now ranked No. 4 in The 25. He won two events on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2021 and was named Player of the Year. He won his first Korn Ferry Tour event, the Astara Golf Championship, earlier this season, practically ensuring his PGA Tour card for next season. Matthews had a memorable response from his father as a result of his victory.
“The first words were, ‘We bleeping’ did it,’ Brandon claimed.
On a sponsor’s exemption, the 27-year-old is in the Wells Fargo field and hoping to play his first weekend after missing the cut in his maiden Tour start at the ’21 Arnold Palmer Championship – a start he got after a viral missed putt.
Having the driver back in his luggage could be the key to making that happen, and the guy responsible for his good driving will definitely be present, armed with more expletives and hugs for his kid.
“To look back at all the hard work and effort my father put in for me, the sacrifices that he has made to bring me to where I am, it goes without saying how special he is to me,” Brandon Matthews said.
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