That role has been taken by the 2-iron, and a number of players are putting the long iron in their bag to help them perform on the links of Royal Liverpool.
Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson will be using a 2-iron this week, and he says the Open Championship is the only time of year it makes its way out of the cupboard, alongside his trusty 64-degree wedge specially tailored to the links conditions.
“I have two clubs that are specific to this tournament – a 2-iron and a 64-degree wedge that has very little bounce,” said Mickelson.
“Those two clubs I basically put away after this event and bring them back out in July again. But they’ve been very important and instrumental in my success at the Open.”
”I don’t have that shot. Physically I’m not capable of that golf shot, so I need a little technology to help me.” – Graeme McDowell
Justin Rose is entering this tournament on the back of two straight wins, including an impressive victory in the Scottish Open last week at Royal Aberdeen. He, too, will have the 2-iron in the bag as he begins his search for a second major title.
He says he expects to use his 2-iron quite a lot this week. “I’ve been toying with the TaylorMade guys,” he said. “I’ve been working hard the last few weeks on a couple of areas in my golf bag.
“TaylorMade have a new UDI club. It’s like a hybrid but more like an iron. I used the 2-iron last week, and this week I actually might use the one-iron. “
Rory McIlroy was the bookie’s favourite to win this week until Rose made it back-to-back wins last weekend, and he has already planned where he will be using the 2-iron during the round.
“I’ll use it a bit,” he said. “I’ll use it on the first two holes, definitely. I think it will be an important club. I might use it four or five times during the round. I’ll probably use a two-iron just as much as I’ll use the driver.
“I usually carry a 5-wood instead of a two-iron, but I just think for this terrain and the conditions and the wind, the two-iron just goes that little bit lower, and there’s a better flight on it, which is obviously better for these conditions.”
Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer have all had similar thoughts to McIlroy and made room for the club in their set-up. One man who won’t follow the trend is Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, above. When asked how important his two-iron would be this week, his answer was simple: “I don’t have one.”
He added: “I’ve always been a guy who used to carry a 2-iron and switch that between a two-hybrid and a 5-wood. Then the three-hybrid became such a staple diet.
“It’s nine weeks out of ten the hybrid is in the bag, because nine weeks out of ten you’re trying to fly things and stop it.
“This is a very specialised test, playing golf in the wind, on firm and fast fairways.
“I feel like I’m fairly good at knocking the ball down. My main problem as a player is hitting these shots that the very unique players in the world can hit, the 220, 230 long iron which comes in soft. I don’t have that shot. Physically I’m not capable of that golf shot, so I need a little technology to help me.”
Originally published on bunkered on July 16, 2014.