Rory McIlroy believes that he may have the upper hand in this year’s US PGA Championship due to the variety of grass which is used at Kiawah Island.
Paspalum grass is native to the Americas but is rarely used on golf courses. It is sometimes vital for those courses which are extremely close to the ocean, due to its tolerance of high salinity and high temperatures.
What makes it so difficult to play in comparison to similar grasses, such as Bermudagrass, is that it is extremely sticky. This makes it difficult to judge the power needed in your swing, especially in the rough.
“We practise on Paspalum at the Bear’s Club all the time. It’s very spiny. When you hit wedges it bites a lot, really grabs the ball. So you can be aggressive,” said McIlroy.
Another Pete Dye course which uses this strain of grass is Whistling Straits, where the Ulsterman finished third in 2010. Another who played well in Wisconsin was Dustin Johnson – a favourite for this week – and another who practices at the prestigious Bear’s Club in Florida.
McIlroy is looking to overcome a disappointing run in the biggest tournaments, having finished outside the top 20 in every major since winning the US Open in 2011.
“It would be great just to give myself a chance this week, get into contention and just feel that buzz again of getting into contention in a major and remembering how it feels,” he said.