Horschel was in the middle of the fairway, 198 yards away from reaching the par 5 in two. He trailed Chris Kirk by a shot, but was playing a hole he had birdied the previous three times he played it.
The secret to avoiding a heavy shot like Horschel's is the one Tiger Woods has used to win so many tournaments -- familiarity. "The only way to handle pressure is to put yourself in those positions as often as possible," says Parada, who works with Jonas Blixt, David Lingmerth and Anna Nordqvist among other tour players. "During your practice time, give yourself scenarios where you need to execute a shot to win something important. Go through your entire routine and focus on slowing your breathing and keeping a normal rhythm. Hit the shot and grade yourself on the result."
To amp up the pressure training, do a vigorous set of wind sprints or jumping jacks just before you hit the shot. Give yourself 45 seconds to go through your routine, modulate your breathing and make your swing. "At first, you'll be shocked at how hard it is to even hit a five-foot putt with your heart rate up and adrenaline pumping," says Parada. "But the more you practice it and work on slowing down your breathing, you'll feel your muscles relax and your heart rate slow down. That's a great tool to have when you need it over an important shot."
There were only minor differences in McIlroy's club lineup in his encore victory in Akron, Ohio. Instead of the Nike MM proto 2-iron he carried at Hoylake, McIlroy had a VRS Covert 5-wood (19 degrees). He also took out his VR Pro Blade 3-iron in favor of a third VR Forged wedge, adding the 52 degree to the 54 and 59 degree models he previously carried.
Here is McIlroy's bag in its entirety at Firestone.
Ball: Nike RZN Black
Driver: Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70X), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Nike VRS Covert, 15 degrees
5-wood: Nike VRS Covert, 19 degrees
Irons (4-9): Nike VR Pro Blade; (PW): Nike VR Forged
Wedges: Nike VR Forged (52, 54, 59 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 006
By Matthew Rudy
Clark has used a long putter since his days playing college golf at N.C. State in the 1990s. The South African was among the more vocal players arguing to keep the USGA and R&A from outlawing the anchored stroke when the governing bodies proposed the rule change in 2012. The 38-year-old uses the long putter out of what he says is necessity; a congenital problem with his arms prevents him from supinating his wrists and causes discomfort while using a short putter.
With the anchoring ban having been approved and set to be implemented in January 2016, several players who use belly or long putters have begun to experiment with other shorter models. Clark, however, is among a dozen or so players who remain anchoring holdouts.
Here are the rest of the clubs and ball Clark played in picking up his second PGA Tour title.
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (Accra M4 55), 9.5 degrees
4-wood: Titleist 913Fd, 18 degrees
5-wood: Callaway Steelhead Plus, 18 degrees
Hybrid: TaylorMade Rescue FW Dual, 19 degrees
Irons (4-9): Titleist CB; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM4
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM4 (56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM5 (60 degrees0
Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Long
Photo: Getty Images
* Cabrera used a Ping S55 7-iron when he jarred his approach from 175 yards on the par-4 13th hole to help stretch his lead.
* The two-time major winner also was one of eight Ping staff players to use the company’s G30 driver, a club the company debuted just this week. Cabrera was 11th in driving distance at 307.1 yards and was fourth in driving accuracy, hitting 82.14 percent of his fairways.
Here's a look at the rest of the bag of the Argentine:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Ping G30 (Aldila Rogue 80X), 9 degrees
3-wood: Ping G30, 13.5 degreesIrons (2): Ping i25; (3-PW): Ping S55
Wedges: Ping Anser (54 degrees); Ping Tour Gorge TS (60 degrees)
Putter: Ping Scottsdale TR Anser 2B
Photos: Getty Images
By Matthew Rudy
For more than a decade, observers have known what to expect from Ping drivers: A consistent, oversized shape that emphasizes forgiveness on off-center hits, all with a relatively traditional look. But starting with the alignment stripes on this year's i25 driver, Ping is expanding its horizons.
That trend continued this week as the company unveiled its G30 driver on the PGA Tour. Like the i25, the G30, which according to the USGA's list of conforming drivers includes the word "turbulators" on the top of the club, employs what appears to be a crown technology. Generally, a turbulator is a means of improving the air flow around an object like an airplane wing or car. Clearly visible are a series of ridges on the crown of the G30.
The G30's crown ridges have the look of airfoil turbulators and could play some role in improving the club's aerodynamic efficiency during the swing. In fact, Ping engineers led by Dr. Erik Henrikson, head of fitting science, are presenting a paper at the 2014 Conference of the International Sports Engineering Association this month in England. The title, "Experimental investigation of golf driver club head drag reduction through the use of aerodynamic features on the driver crown," may say something about what the G30's crown ridges might be trying to do. The presentation is listed here in the Programme Schedule for the conference.
Several players began testing the G30 on Monday at The Greenbrier Classic, including Mark Wilson, Derek Ernst, Jason Gore and David Lingmerth. Angel Cabrera already put both a G30 driver and 3-wood in his bag, and Bubba Watson, who has been testing the driver since mid-May, also is expected to put the club in play this week in West Virginia.
More details on G30 and its technology are expected to be available later this week.Follow @MikeStachura
By John Strege
It is called the Blue Course, presumably in a nod to the color of the language it evokes from a vexed PGA Tour constituency. The word of the day there Sunday was “#$&@?$%$!”
Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., occasionally hosts the U.S. Open, suggesting its tournament course is not likely to warrant a Miss Congeniality award. But that’s the U.S. Open. Why was it showcasing its ugly side in a tournament now known as the Quicken Loans National?
(Getty Images photo)
It almost proved too thorny even for a Rose. Justin Rose survived a 72nd-hole bogey to win the tournament, beating Shawn Stefani on the first hole of a playoff.
“It’s definitely a test,” Rose said Saturday.
What, a calculus test?
Patrick Reed was among those who failed it. Reed took a two-stroke lead into the final round and was threatening to have the last laugh on those who ridiculed him for having declared himself a top-five player in the world. “He has self belief,” Nick Faldo said diplomatically, “the best 15th club in the bag.” Disbelief surely joined his repertoire in the final round, when he imploded spectacularly, shooting a 77 that included three double bogeys and a few impolitic words.
Freddie Jacobson, meanwhile, momentarily misplaced his composure and gouged a chunk of turf from the rough (see video below). He was running hot, despite donning plus-twos that he said were “a little bit cooler in this heat.”
At least Congressional delivered an appropriate winner on a course on which “a U.S. Open broke out,” CBS’ Peter Kostis said. Rose is a U.S. Open champion, who has developed a habit of winning on renowned tracks: Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and now Congressional.
“I think Congressional got its reputation back after the U.S. Open, for sure,” Rose said, referring to Rory McIlroy’s Open win there in 2011, when he played 72 holes in 16 under par. Rose and Stefani each finished at four under par, two of only 10 players to better par in the tournament.
“I was excited to play this golf course this week,” Rose said. “I really enjoy this type of golf and this kind of test. And it tested all of us.”
Even the tournament host, Tiger Woods, who missed the cut in his return to competitive golf though apparently avoided injury. That in itself was an achievement with rough so thick that “if we played it every week you’d see more wrist injuries,” defending champion Bill Haas said.
Only six of the 75 players broke par in the final round and only two scored in the 60s, but everyone, ultimately, was a victim of Congressional mettle.