Max Homa hit the longest official drive in PGA Tour history in the third round of the 2024 Sentry at Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course on Maui in Hawaii.
Playing the 525-yard par-4 seventh hole on Saturday, Homa hit a drive that perfectly found the speed slot on the downslope in the fairway, and the ball shot hard down the hill toward the putting surface. On that tee shot, it is tricky because the ball has to land in the right spot on the fairway and keep it in the narrowing short grass so that the ball isn't either caught up in the rough or its energy isn't lost trying to get through the rough.
After the initial landing, the ball then continued to roll along the sloping of the hole until it reached its resting place just 43 yards from the hole. The PGA Tour's ShotLink system measured the drive at 477 yards, which gives Homa the official PGA Tour record for the longest-recorded drive by a single yard over Davis Love III. Love hit a 476-yard drive on the par-5 18th hole at Kapalua's Plantation Course in the final round of the 2004 edition of this tournament, then known as the Mercedes Championship.
Now, while Homa set a PGA Tour record for the longest drive in PGA Tour history, he also kind of didn't. Let us explain.
The PGA Tour has been using ShotLink to record data about at least some golf shots hit on Tour since 2000, meaning they only have data for 24 years to make the official record. Shot Link was implemented in a limited capacity in 2000 and was implemented fully in 2003.
In 2002, Tiger Woods recorded the longest drive measured by ShotLink with a 498-yard drive on the 18th hole at Kapalua in the Mercedes Championship. In 2002, the 18th was playing especially bouncy. At that time, the 11 longest drives in PGA Tour history were hit on that hole, including 10 in that 2002 edition of the then-Mercedes Championships.
However, the PGA Tour went back and revised the figures from the 2002 Mercedes, dropping 27 drives from that tournament off the official record -- including Woods' record-setting drive.
Then there's the matter of drives captured during match-play events. Stats, even those recorded by ShotLink, for match-play events are unofficial and don't count toward historical rankings. That means Dustin Johnson's 489-yard drive in the third day of the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play doesn't count.
Before ShotLink, there were two unofficial drives that aren't part of the PGA Tour record -- and never were recorded officially -- that are also longer.
The longest drive in PGA Tour history, technically, is a 787-yard drive hit in the 1992 Texas Open by Carl Cooper. Cooper's tee shot on the par-4, 456-yard third hole hit a downward-sloping concrete cart path way right of the fairway and took off, ultimately going 787 yards and stopping behind the 12th green at Oak Hills Country Club. Cooper took another three shots to get back to the green, then two-putted for a double bogey.
Mike Austin, 64 years old at the time, hit a 515-yard drive on Sept. 25, 1974 in the National Seniors Open Championship, the pre-cursor to the U.S. Senior Open. Austin hit the drive on a 450-yard par 4 at Desert Rose Golf Club in Las Vegas. The club was at 2,000 feet above sea level and the estimated wind on the hole that day was a 35mph helping wind.