GREENSBORO, N.C. — Could Billy Horschel’s set of irons be responsible for his disappointing performance this season?
Horschel, who won the Memorial last season for his seventh PGA Tour title and represented Team USA in the Presidents Cup for the first time, has experienced a big dip this season, recording just two top-10 finishes and entering the week at No. 116 in the FedEx Cup season-long point standings.
Horschel, who hit rock bottom shooting an opening-round 84 at Muirfield Village while defending his title at the Memorial in June, showed how far his game has come since then by posting 8-under 62 on Friday, his career low on the PGA Tour. Asked to explain what he attributed his improvement to, Horschel cited that he discovered on the Tuesday of the U.S. Open in June that the lie angles on his Titleist irons were 2-3 degrees too upright.
“Somehow along the process of switching manufacturers (from PXG) and being on my own and everything maybe my numbers just got a little off,” he said.
Horschel credited working with Michael Neff on the Gears 3-D system (Golf Evaluation and Research System), a full body optical motion tracking system designed to measure and analyze every aspect of sport-specific skills, in full 3-D.
“That made a massive difference,” Horschel said.
Horschel was quick to say that no one was to blame but he was able to dig up a spreadsheet from his days with Ping and confirmed they didn’t match the numbers he was using with his current set.
“So it was causing me not to hit the cut that I would want to hit,” he said. “So from there it gave me a lot of confidence that everything Todd (Anderson, his coach) and I have been doing in our swing was the right thing.
“And then recently we just realized that the more width and shorter I can keep it, the better the club stays out in front of me,” he said. “Getting back to a little bit of what we always did back in ’13, ’14 and ’15. Just got a little sloppy in the sense that the club runs off a little bit too much. So simple thing is keeping more width and keeping it more out in front of me in the backswing, which allows the club to stay more out in front of me on the downswing so I can hit my cut easier.”
The proof is in the pudding: Horschel has reeled off six straight rounds under par, something he said he hasn’t done for a while, and finished T-13 at the 3M Open last week.