It sounds like we’re going to have another instance of Phil Mickelson being Phil Mickelson at the British Open this year. The rest of the field would do well to take note.
The PGA Tour’s most famous tinkerer is taking the driver out of the bag as he takes on Royal Birkdale’s rolling expanses.
Shades of the 2013 Open when Phil went sans driver, leaning instead on the famed Phrankenwood (a 3-wood/driver hybrid). Interestingly, it won’t be one Phrankenwood this week but rather two 3-irons, according to the Golf Channel.
Mickelson’s longest club will be his 3-wood, but he also has a strong-lofted Callaway Epic 3-iron that’s bent to 16 degrees. For comparison, the average 3-wood loft is 13 to 15 degrees, so this is a strong 3, indeed. He’s also carrying his usual 3-iron.
Birkdale comes in at just over 7,100 yards, so longer players will probably be able to get away without a driver in the bag. Few, however, will have calculated this fact beforehand and had a special club made accordingly.
But as Mickelson said earlier this week, “My math is different from anyone else.”
Arrogant? Perhaps. But true, nevertheless. The left-hander makes his calculations, draws on his accumulated body of data and pulls the trigger. Mickelson’s decisions may look risky to the outside observer, but they are entirely reasonable to the man himself.
With that in mind, let’s remember a few of Phil’s more singular decisions with this PGATour.com video.
This is the takeaway: While “Phil Mickelson is playing Royal Birkdale with two 3-irons” will make plenty of headlines, Mickelson isn’t taking some massive gamble.
Rather, based on what he’s seen at the course and the shots he knows he’ll need, the driver isn’t a necessary tool for the job. Thus, why not take it out of the bag and add a tool that will offer some benefit? While this is a “Phil being Phil” moment, more players would do well to follow his analytical lead.