Rory McIlroy explained his approach to one of the most intimidating holes in golf ahead of the Players Championship.
The par-three 17th at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most famous tee shots in the game – but it is also one of the toughest thanks to the island green and vast amount of water in play.
It has caught out many a big name down the years, with some huge scores racked up.
However, having won the Players in 2019, Rory McIlroy is well-placed to give an insight into the best way to play the hole.
And ahead of this year’s Players, the four-time major winner explained his approach.
“I think one of the biggest things on 17 is just making sure you get the wind right,” he said.
“There’s sort of a high camera tower sort of beside the 16th fairway there, and there’s usually a flag up on top and you’re looking at that to see where the wind is coming from and if it’s switching or if you’re getting any gusts from a different direction. That’s something to really take into account.
“Sometimes it’s nice not to be the first one on the tee just to see what your playing partners do. I’m not saying that that’s a reason to not make birdie on 16, but sometimes it is nice to have a couple guys go ahead of you just to see what the ball is doing.
“You’re not really trying to go for the pin on 17, you’re just trying to hit it into the middle of the green, and you make four 3s on 17 and move on this week, you’re going to gain strokes on the field.
“There’s certainly a lot more birdie holes out there, and on this golf course you just have to pick and choose your battles, and 17 isn’t one to go chasing the pin.”
“I think the biggest thing is just trusting commitment,” he added.
“It’s trusting what you’re doing and committing 100 percent of the shot you’re trying to hit, not to try to guide it, not to try to be too careful with it. It’s almost like you have to almost let go and give up a little bit of control.
“I think that’s when I certainly swing at my best and hit my best golf shots.”