ARDMORE, Pa. – One of the great things about being back at Merion for the U.S. Open is that it gives the 1-iron a chance to be popular all over again.
Anyone not living in a cave the past month – or the past 60-plus years for that matter – knows Ben Hogan hit a 1-iron shot to the center of the green on the 72nd hole of the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion, made par and beat Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio in an 18-hole playoff the next day.
The photo of the 1-iron shot is one of the most famous pictures in golf history.
Tiger Woods said Tuesday at the U.S. Open that he does not own a copy of the photo. And, in typical Woods fashion, he made a point to say that there was plenty of work for Hogan to do after that historic 1-iron was struck.
“It’s a great photo, but it would have been an all right photo if he didn’t win,” Woods said. “He still had to go out and win it the next day.”
Woods recalls carrying a 1-iron himself for most of his junior golf days and early in his PGA Tour career.
“The running joke out here is, well, when I got here in my teens I used a 1-iron, in my 20s I used a 2-iron and in my 30s I used a 5-wood,” Woods said. “So I’m shaping an 11-wood from about 120 out there when I get older.
“But I used one of my dad’s 1-irons for a number of years. I stole it out of his bag and put a steel shaft in it.”