Why there’s less ‘bravado’ in pro golf today, according to Brandel Chamblee

brandel chamblee stares ahead

The current era of pro golf is different than in the past, and Brandel Chamblee thinks players aren't as bold as before.

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The current era of golf is unlike any that came before it. Gone are the days of a golfer’s game being based on feels and finesse. The current era is dominated by power and data.

This shift can largely be attributed to the advancements made in technology. Now, more than ever before, hitting the ball far (and straight) is simple. And, thanks to data, we can see that the long ball is the foundation for elite golf.

The numbers takeover doesn’t stop there, though. Number-crunching is also key in decision-making when on the course. Thanks to ShotLink data, players can assess risks like never before.

Brandel Chamblee superimposed on an image of Pinehurst No. 2's 16th hole.
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This risk-mitigation strategy is great for posting high finishes on leaderboards. But, according to Brandel Chamblee, it’s also robbed the game of something in the process.

“Is it more exciting golf?” Chamblee asked on the most recent episode of GOLF Originals. “Everybody is a card-counter now. They know where they should hit it. Less chances taken. Less risks taken.”

Mitigating risk is the name of the game these days. So too is protecting high finishes on the leaderboards. With so much money on the line week in and week out, not to mention world ranking points, taking risks is more consequential than ever before. One missed shot could be the difference between hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’s less about winning,” Chamblee said. “Because world ranking points have currency and open doors. FedEx Cup points have currency and open doors. It used to be just victories had currency and opened doors, but that’s not the case any more. Finishing second still opens doors — more doors than it used to, because you get world ranking points, FedEx Cup points. There’s less sense of bravado in the game.”

Chamblee went on to explain that he understands why this trend has taken hold in the game, but he believes it has damaged the entertainment product of professional golf.

“I think people pay to see — stop what they’re doing to watch — people who dare to be different,” he said.

For more from Chamblee, check out the entire episode of GOLF Originals below.

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.

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