The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is best known for the par-three 17th hole – Pete Dye’s infamous island green. But more than likely, this week’s Players Championship will be won on the quarter of par fives, each of which is reachable in two shots by most of the contenders. You have to think those par fives are one reason why world No. 1 Rory McIlroy has a 2-iron (remember them) in his bag.
A well-struck – and well-placed – 2 iron can be as effective as a driver without some of the risk of spraying the golf ball on The Stadium Course, well as The Olympic Club (U.S. Open) and Royal Lytham (British Open).
“I’ve played Lytham a lot, and the 2‑iron will probably come in handy there,” McIlroy said today. “I still haven’t been to Olympic, but from what I hear, it could be a good club for that course, too.
“Congressional (site of his U.S. Open runaway victory last year), yeah, I think it was. I think that the course played soft and it played long, it played into my hands a little bit. I could take advantage of the par‑5s and make some scores there. It wasn’t a typical U.S. Open setup. I think that that helped me a little bit.”
Clearly the young Irishman is thinking in those terms again this week and at Olympic and Royal Lytham.
“I’ve never been a fan of the hybrids; I always switched between a 2‑iron and a 5‑wood, depending on where I played,” McIlroy said. “Growing up playing amateur golf in the UK, you’re playing a lot of links courses, so you would use a 2‑iron quite a lot.”