Phil Mickelson likes his figures, this we know. And he’s a detail-orientated individual with a tremendous memory, as his post-round press conferences continually show.
We were treated to plenty of precious gems in part one of the left-hander’s interview with David Feherty. And now, thanks to an exclusive clip, we have this bit of detail regarding the, well, detail of Phil Mickelson’s pre-shot routine.
Consider this his pre-pre-shot work.
“In my practice, I build a reference. So I hit the same shot over and over, building a 9-iron that goes 145 yards, let’s say. Now, that will vary based on temperature and altitude, which will change with time of day and whatnot as well as wind and those effects.”
“One of the things people might say is, ‘I hit my wedge 120. Well, you might hit your wedge 120 under certain conditions, but in the morning, ball’s not going to go 120. Maybe in the afternoon when it’s warmer and the ball heats up. But it’s going to go five to 10 yards shorter in the morning. People don’t factor that in.”
So, he arrives at the course with a set of stock numbers for each club: the 145-yard 9-iron, for example.This sets him up for a checklist, or series of questions, he runs through prior to hitting a shot.
“All these things I have to factor in when I look at the lie. How is the lie, and how is the ball going to come out relative to my 145 9-iron? What’s the lie going to do? What’s the temperature? What’s the wind? How do I want the ball coming into the green…Those are the nuances that allow me to be so precise with my wedges and my short irons.”
While Mickelson may be painted as extreme or excessive for this level of analysis in the confines of the internet, young Tour pros are assuredly listening to him explain the subtleties. If Tiger didn’t teach them anything about practice, Phil’s routine sure will.
It’s hard to argue with a process that seems uniquely tailored to glorious recovery shots.
The second part of Feherty’s interview airs at 9 p.m. EST on Monday on Golf Channel. The first part re-airs immediately prior.