Players at the highest level of golf often try out special pieces of equipment in advance of specific tournaments. Jason Day used the HP Byron Nelson Championship to test-drive a 1-iron to see if he might want to use it at the British Open.
That's right, a 1-iron.
Day regularly plays a full set (2-iron through pitching wedge) of TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons, but asked the TaylorMade club technicians for a 1-iron to use in the windy conditions he anticipated in Dallas and at Muirfield. To accommodate him, the club techs got a RocketBladez Tour 2-iron and bent it to down to a 16.5-degree loft.
To further simulate the feel and performance of a 1-iron, they also switched in a 125-gram UST Miyama Recoil prototype shaft that is ½-inch longer than normal. Day tried the club out on the range and even used it instead of a driver on most of the holes during his pro-am round last Wednesday.
In gusts of 10-20 mph, Day consistently carried his new 1-iron 250 yards, according to TaylorMade, and a launch monitor showed him hitting a number of shots in excess of 300 yards with bounce and roll. So he used it during the tournament.
''We were going to try a 1‑iron … here because we know if we have a 1-iron here and it works well in the wind, when we go overseas to the British this year we can have the full confidence that it's going to go the right distance and can come out low and hit different types of shots when I need to,'' Day said last week in Dallas. ''I know that not the British Open course, but the wind is very strong here.''
Day's original thought was to take his driver out of his bag and replace it with a 2-wood.
''We fiddled around with a wood and we couldn't quite get the right configuration with the shaft and the flight,'' explained Day, who said he last used a 1-iron when he was 13 years old. ''So we were thinking about putting in a 1‑iron and just practicing with it because of the British.''
And while he's definitely thinking about using his new 1-iron at Muirfield, Day said he also might give it a try during the U.S. Open at the relatively short Merion Golf Club next month.
''I think that would be a very good club around there, but I don't know until I get there,'' he said. ''I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with it for Memorial, but I know I'm going to use it at the British.''
For the record, Day shot rounds of 72-68-66-72 for a 2-under total of 278 as he tied for 27th place.