ARDMORE, Pa. — On a quiet day and on a relatively empty course for practice rounds, just about every player at Merion stops at the plaque in the 18th fairway that commemorates Ben Hogan hitting 1-iron into the 18th green in the 1950 U.S. Open.
To see such a landmark in golf history, players are inspired to try to duplicate the shot.
But this is no longer an option.
Good luck finding a player who even carries a 1-iron. And the shot Hogan hit, which the USGA estimates to be 213 yards, is no longer a 1-iron. Graeme McDowell hit a 3-hybrid, conceding that Hogan would probably roll in his grave.
There was a time when several players carried the club known as the "butter knife." Finding memorable shots in the U.S. Open is not that easy.
Here are five shots with the 1-iron that stand out:
5. JOHN DALY REACHES THE UNREACHABLE PAR 5
The legend of the 17th hole at Baltusrol was that no one could reach the 630-yard hole in two shots. Baltusrol had not seen the likes of John Daly in the 1993 U.S. Open.
Fans and volunteers kept telling Daly they wanted to see him reach the green in two, though that could only happen if Daly hit his tee shot in the fairway. He finally managed in the second round on Friday.
Daly blasted his tee shot, leaving him about 287 yards up the hill. He smashed his 1-iron — Daly didn't carry a 3-wood back then — and the ball landed in the thick rough between a pair of bunkers, bounced a couple of times and rolled across the green.
"I swung as hard as I could," Daly said.
He shot 68 that day, though he would not be a factor the rest of the week. No matter. Daly desperately wanted to prove he could reach the 17th in two, and he said he told his caddie, "We may not play good, but at least we'll make history."
4. JACK NICKLAUS AT BALTUSROL
Jack Nicklaus was leading Arnold Palmer going to the par-5 18th at Baltusrol in the 1967 U.S. Open, but more was at stake than beating Palmer again in the U.S. Open. Nicklaus needed a birdie on the last hole to break Ben Hogan's U.S. Open scoring record of 276 in 1948.
It didn't start out very well.
Nicklaus pulled his tee shot into thick rough and had to pitch back out to the fairway. That left him 238 yards away from a thin lie in the fairway, up the hill to the green. He chose a 1-iron, and the shot was so true that Nicklaus took a couple of steps toward the hole when he hit it.
The crowd told him the rest. The ball settled just over 20 feet from the hole, and Nicklaus made the putt for a closing 65 and a four-shot win over Palmer.