Including the Masters last November, the Olympics this past summer, and the upcoming Ryder Cup September 24-26, the past 12 months of professional golf were a “super season” packed full of every big event imaginable.
With a Players Championship win for Justin Thomas and a Wells Fargo Championship victory for Rory McIlroy, it’s been quite the year for two prominent WHOOP athletes.
As they prepare to square off against each other in the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, we took a look at Justin and Rory’s WHOOP data from the final six tournaments of the season–a particularly grueling stretch of golf that included the Open Championship, the Olympics, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
To no surprise, some of their top performances on the golf course correlated with several highlights in their WHOOP metrics. And with all eyes on the showdown ahead, we also studied recent data from both Justin and Rory during their off weeks prior to the Ryder Cup this weekend.
We examined the eight best rounds Justin and Rory each played spanning the last six tournaments of the season, as well as their average WHOOP data from those days compared to all other days of competition in that time period. Here are some of the highlights:
Breaking down the average WHOOP data for Justin and Rory from their top eight rounds compared to all other tournament days, there was one fairly consistent finding that emerged: For each of them, better sleep often led to better outcomes on the course.
Both Justin and Rory averaged more time in bed and more time asleep prior to their best rounds than they did for other days of play.
With Rory specifically, we also discovered a distinct connection between his lowest golf scores and his highest WHOOP recoveries and HRV. His average recovery improved from 60% to 67% on the days he played his best, while his average HRV increased from 53 to 56.
Also worth noting is the fact that for both Justin and Rory, their highest average recoveries during tournaments came on Sundays. Considering that for many golfers the strain of tournament play generally takes its toll as the weekend progresses, this is a testament to each of their abilities to manage workload and have their bodies ready to peak when it matters most.
Since the conclusion of the Tour Championship on September 5, both golfers have had some time to “rest” and get themselves prepared for the Ryder Cup. Over the past two weeks, there are a number of potential indicators in Justin and Rory’s data that they may each be primed and ready to go on Friday.
In the past 10 days, Justin has recorded his best recovery of the year (99%), as well as his longest sleep (9.3 hours) and time spent in bed (10.8 hours). Similarly, over that same span Rory has also logged his lowest RHR (46) and most efficient sleep (96%) of the season.
Justin is getting higher quality sleep lately as well. He’s averaging 2 hours of deep sleep per night compared to 1.8 in the month of August, and his nightly percentages of restorative sleep have gone up too (REM from 34% to 39%, and deep sleep from 23% to 31%).
For Rory, in addition to averaging more sleep (7.6 hours per night vs 6.7 in August), his daily recovery (from 65% to 68%) and HRV (55 to 57) are also on the rise. Plus, Rory has drastically reduced his average day strain (from 13.3 to 8.6), a great sign that he’ll be firing on all cylinders this weekend.