Phil Mickelson’s quest to win his first U.S. Open and therefore complete the career major championship grand slam is storyline that will be heating up over the next week as the PGA Tour stops in Canada before heading to Pebble Beach for the third major championship of the year.
Never one to shy away from using every advantage available to him, Mickelson is once again going to be carrying two drivers in his bag at a major championship.
In what has become Phil’s preferred way of making announcements, the 5-time major champion took to Instagram to lob a few shots at some fellow Tour pros while also hinting at some very real reasons for why he’s going to make such a big change with his equipment as he heads to the course where he won earlier this season at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
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“Well, I saw a post of Bubba Watson hitting bombs without a shirt on,” Mickelson said. “And he had bear chest hair. And I don’t mean B-A-R-E chest hair. I mean grizzly bear – B-E-A-R – chest hair, and thought, ‘If I have to have that to hit bombs, I don’t want to hit bombs.’ So, I have a shorter driver where I can hit cute little cuts into the fairway.
“But then I realized that when I was not hitting bombs, my confidence was low, my self-esteem was low. Oftentimes I wouldn’t want to get out of bed,” the post continued. “And so, when I started hitting bombs, my confidence shot back up, my testosterone came back, my overall attractiveness increased. And so, I’m going to have a driver to hit cute cuts in the fairway, and I’m going to hit bombs.”
Messing with his equipment prior to a big event is nothing new for Mickelson, and he even won the 2006 Masters with two drivers in the bag. Testing out his change at last week’s Memorial Tournament, Mickelson took a more serious and reasoned tone when he explained the move to the press following a first-round 2-under par 70.
“The length of the shaft is about an inch and a quarter longer with the longer driver, (which means) the loft is going to be a little bit different, and subsequently my angle of attack is more up, my swing speed is 4 miles an hour of ball speed faster. I hit it a lot farther,” Mickelson explained. “My swing is different than a lot of the young guys, where they’re very connected and have fast twitch muscles that explode through the ball. My body moves a little lethargic. I use length of arc for great speed. I need longer shafts and timing to be able to create the same kind of speed.”
Mickelson went on to explain that Muirfield Village gave him the opportunity to put in the “bomb” driver because there were a handful of holes that would be easier if he could hit it 325. However, with the notoriously tight fairways at the U.S. Open and the trouble that lurks at the upcoming Open Championship, despite some lower confidence, he’ll only be using the shorter, “cute cut” driver.
“During the AT&T when there’s no rough, fairways are wider and you have to accommodate the golf course because you have amateurs playing it, yes, there would be times that would be a key club,” Mickelson said of his longer driver. “But not what I anticipate in June. I don’t see it happening. I don’t see me using it the rest of the year, to be honest.”
While the two-driver setup was a fun wrinkle for Mickelson at the Memorial, where a second round 79 ejected him from the weekend proceedings, he was able to work on the “cute cut” driver, which he will be using at next week’s U.S. Open and if he’s to be believed, the rest of the season.
With Pebble Beach playing under 7,000 yards, there’s no need for Mickelson to be launching the “bomb” driver all over the property. The cute cuts that find the short grass should work just fine.