U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)

The Loop

How He Hit That: Zach Johnson's clutch putting display

July 20, 2015

As pretty as Zach Johnson's wedge and short game are, his cup-wristed putting stroke doesn't inspire quite the same aesthetic rapture.

But it's hard to argue with the results. Johnson rolled in a curling 20-footer for birdie on the 18th that ended up getting him into a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman. Then, after waiting almost an hour, he made two birdies and a huge bogey save on the Road Hole to secure his second major.

"The guys who are able to execute in the short game and putter under that kind of pressure don't necessarily have different mechanics than everybody else. They're just able to stay in their routine and do the things they normally do," says short game guru Stan Utley. "They keep the same mental and physical routine regardless of the situation, and they don't do things more quickly or more slowly."

When times get tight, many players -- from the tour level down to club golf -- have the tendency take more time reading and then more time taking looks at the target, says Utley. "You think you're giving yourself time to calm down, but you're actually raising your anxiety," he says. "If you're anxious, the tendency is to move off the ball toward the hole early. You want to stay centered over the shot and keep your eyes 'quiet' through your whole process."