I came across the absolutely brilliant piece by Sean Martin on PGATour.com on Francesco Molinari and how he has gained an incredible 20 yards from the tee since 2015.

It's all about the marginal shots gains to be achieved by playing second shots from closer to the green.

Mark Broadie (stats keeper for Fran), the inventor of the Strokes Gained statistics, quantified the benefits of increased distance in his book “Every Shot Counts.” An extra 20 yards off the tee can be worth up to three strokes per tournament, he said. It's the sum of small gains.

The average PGA TOUR player takes 2.98 strokes to hole out from 160 yards. It’s 2.91 from 140 yards. That’s less than one-tenth of a stroke, but it can become significant over the course of 72 holes. The increased distance outweighs the increase in missed fairways, as well.

So what's the secret. Coaching and weights in the gym.

TaylorMade’s Adrian Rietveld clocked Fran's clubhead speed at an average 107.1 mph in October 2016 with ball speed of 158.5 mph.

“He constantly spoke about how hard he was working with Denis Pugh on his swing and in the gym with his team,” Rietveld said. “Some days he would be just too (tired) from the strength work to produce long equipment sessions.”

His numbers are now 114 and 169 mph. He now carries it 290 yards, 25 yards longer than when measured in October 2016.

It's worth noting too that Fran has gone from a Nike Vapor Pro driver in 2015 and a Vapor Fly in 2016  to now gaming a TaylorMade M4 driver.

“Apart from my work with Justin Rose, I have never worked with a player as precise as Francesco,” Rietveld said. He watched Rose undergo a similar distance gain that helped him win the 2013 U.S. Open, then win the FedExCup and become No. 1 in the world ranking.

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