IRVING, Texas — One of the key equipment highlights last week at HP Byron Nelson Championship relates to past Champion and TaylorMade Tour Staffer, Jason Day, who by request asked that our PGA Tour technicians build him a “1-iron” for both the weekly conditions and a projection of the conditions he anticipates facing at the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield. Just as TPC Four Seasons demands precise ballstriking and controlled iron play in the wind, Day also decided it smart this week to begin mental and physical preparation for the year’s third major, specifically tailoring his equipment to setup as it might for one major week in July. That said, the Tour team took into consideration Day’s existing iron set – he arrived in Dallas with Tour Preferred MC irons (2-PW) – but believed he would take his 2-iron out in favor of the “1-iron” if we could achieve the launch conditions, feel and consistency he was looking for.
Because we don’t offer a true 1-iron in our RocketBladez Tour model, even in a ‘Tour-only’ prototype fashion, we started with an RBladez Tour 2-iron and, in Jason’s case, a unique shaft (125-gram UST Miyama Recoil Prototype) built ½” over length. In addition to the unique shaft properties – Day plays Flighted Rifle 6.5 steel iron shafts in his MCs – we bent the 2-iron down to 16.5° of loft. The ensuing testing on the range was an instant success for Day, who navigated his way around the weekly Pro-Am only hitting a handful of tee shots with driver, instead opting for the consistency and strength of the RBladez Tour’s ball flight in the wind. In gusts of just 10-20 MPH, Day was carrying the new 1-iron 250 yards with consistency and the launch monitor showed him hitting a number of shots in excess of 300 yards with bounce and roll, he said.
“I was out there today and hit a couple of — it was downwind and it was a 10 to 20 mph wind out there — and there was a couple that went 300 [yards] easy with the bounce and roll as well,” Day said. “I want to say today with the wind hit about four, maybe five drives total [during the Pro-Am]. Everything else was a 1-iron and I didn’t pull out the 4-wood at all. The ball flight was very strong.”
Only time and further experience will determine whether Day finds the club useful, too, for the U.S. Open at Merion but certainly he’s identified it already to be a very good option for Muirfield. After a weekend in which he finished T27 (-2), including a third-round 66, we look forward to watching Day continue work with his custom 1-iron as a key summer equipment storyline, especially the heart of major championship season.
“What the experiment was, was we were going to try a 1-iron and try it out here because we know if we have a 1-iron here and it works well in the wind, we go overseas to the British this year with full confidence that it’s doing to go the right distance and can come out low and hit different types of shots when I need to,” Day said.