BRUTAL HONESTYI've never been a player who plays straight blade irons, because my ball-striking isn't all that great. I need a little bit of forgiveness. I still have to play with the misses. Like No. 17 on Sunday at Honda -- on the Bear Trap -- I kind of stabbed at it, but it still flew pretty straight and I was able to make a par when I really needed to. It's good to know that even if I mis-hit it, I'll still be OK.
Photo By: mike ehrmann/getty images
MAJOR LESSONSFinishing second at the U.S. Open last year certainly was bittersweet, but it's what you take from those moments that matters. I missed the cut in three of the first four tournaments this year before Honda. And sure, thoughts like, Am I going to miss every cut? creep into your head. But I had a good feeling going into the final round at Honda and, even though I was nervous, the U.S. Open experience helped me stay calm and confident.
THE MAGIC NUMBERI play the new Titleist Pro V1x. I always start with exactly 12 balls in my bag. Seems like the right amount.
Photo By: sam greenwood/getty images
LEAVE THE CRUSTS ONYou need energy on the course. For me, it's peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. I have one every time I play.
ROLL TIDEWhen Tulane's golf program was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina, I transferred to Alabama and graduated with an accounting degree. This headcover is of Big Al.
222 TO THE FRONTI use this Bushnell range finder during practice rounds. It's good to know the distances, especially on courses you aren't that familiar with.
BIRTHMARKMy mom got me in the habit of marking my ball with a quarter from 1985, the year I was born.
DRIVERI use a Ping i20 (9.5 degrees, adjusted to 10.3) with a Grafalloy ProLaunch Red stiff shaft (45 inches, D-4 swingweight, tipped one inch). I wanted more of a dead sound off the face, so it feels softer like an iron shot. I also like that it takes off with a piercing flight but still flies high.
FAIRWAY WOODSMy Ping G25 3-wood (15 degrees, Grafalloy ProLaunch Red shaft, X flex, D-3 swingweight) is easy to hit and stays in the air. My 5-wood is an Akira M117 (18 degrees, ProLaunch Red, X flex). I flight shots down with it -- my version of the stinger.
IRONSMy Ping S56 irons (Cushin inserts, True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts, a half-inch over standard) came out in 2010, but I've always played the S series. They're forgiving and provide blade-like feel.
WEDGESI tightened my yardage gaps with a Ping Tour S 47-degree wedge, a Ping Anser Forged 52 degree (that's bent to 53 degrees) and a 58-degree Anser Forged. I like wedges with a lot of bounce. It goes back to growing up in Tucson where they'd use riverbed sand in bunkers and you'd get fluffy lies.
PUTTERI got this Ping Anser 4 off the shelf at a municipal course in Tucson when I was 16. I like its look and also that it's very light (4 degrees of loft, 35.75 inches).