Longer Than Bryson: 6'10" Mega Hitter To Make PGA Tour Debut

James Hart Du Preez averaged a jaw-dropping 373 yards off the tee on the Sunshine Tour in 2021.

Du Preez hits some shots
(Image credit: Getty Images)

No, that isn't a misprint, James Hart Du Preez really did average 373.07 yards on the Sunshine Tour last year! That distance, will be on full display this week at The American Express, as the South African makes his PGA Tour debut in California.

Standing at 6'10" and weighing 260 pounds (18st 8lbs), the 26-year-old currently sits well outside the world's top-1000 but, thanks to his 200+ mph ball speed, that looks absolutely effortless, Du Preez has become one of the main talking points ahead of the tournament. This is in a field that also includes the world number one, Jon Rahm, and six-time Major winner, Phil Mickelson.

Playing in the event on a sponsor exemption, the South African has struggled with injuries throughout his career, primarily, chronic pain and inflammation caused by an arthritic disease. However, this hasn't stopped him from reaching swing speeds that could rival those competing in the World Long Drive Championships. 

“If you look at the top 10 in the world, all of them have a massive power element to their game,” Du Preez said last year in an interview. “Being able to hit the ball as far as I do … if I can keep myself healthy enough, I’d like to think that I can achieve my goal of competing week in and week out on the PGA Tour."

For those who follow golf on YouTube, you may have heard of Du Preez, with the 26-year-old featuring a few times on video. In one particular reel, he was actually banned from hitting driver on the golf range due to the amount of Titleist Pro V1's being lost over the back.

See more

Career wise, the South African has posted just four worldwide top-10's since turning professional in 2018, with all four appearing on the Sunshine Tour. Recently, Du Preez had advanced to the second stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School. However, the 26-year-old would fail to qualify for the final stage.

“There were some good moments on the course and some disappointments, mainly not making it to the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour school,” he wrote on his Instagram. “But I feel more grown up, learned a ton about myself and hopeful for what lies ahead. I am currently pretty much broke, 26 years old, relying heavily on my parents for financial help and feeling under massive pressure. However, I will always rather be the man in the arena chasing my dream.

“When you hear those stories of ‘years ago I was struggling so much I did x-y or z and look where I am now,’ I am in the middle of that struggle. But it’s all part of the journey. Work, neutral attitude and a ton of faith are all you can control. My profession is cutthroat as hell, but there’s nothing I’d much rather do. Plenty time to make this the best year of my life to date.”

Teeing it up alongside Andrew Novak on Thursday at the Pete Dye Stadium Course, it's going to be an enthralling watch to see how Du Preez tackles the layout. What is guaranteed though, is some absolute monster drives!

See more
Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x