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March 29 2013

11:06 PM

Mickelson going driver-less at Shell

Phil Mickelson has two Callaway 3-woods in the bag this week at Redstone. (Halleran/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

The Shell Houston Open has been more than just a final Masters tuneup for Phil Mickelson over the years; it's also turned into an equipment testing ground of sorts for the four-time major winner.

Mickelson famously used two Callaway FT-3 to win the 2006 Masters, but before he brought the drivers to Augusta National, he tested them out at the Shell Houston Open.

While Friday's equipment adjustment didn't rival the dual drivers, Mickelson's decision to drop his Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver — the same driver he used to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open — and use a setup that included an X Hot 3Deep 3-wood and two additional fairway woods was intriguing.

Callaway unveiled X Hot 3Deep at the beginning of the week — a taller-faced version of the X Hot Pro fairway wood that, for Mickelson, is almost as long as his driver and gives him the ability to work the ball both ways with ease.

Even though Mickelson struggled for much for the second round and nearly missed out on the weekend, he was able to string together three straight birdies starting on the 11th hole to make the cut on the number at 1 under.

With two additional rounds to work on his game before the Masters, the big question is if Mickelson will continue with 3Deep as the longest club in his bag for the rest of the week.

Based on Mickelson's comments following the round, it would appear he has something up his sleeve. But in typical Mickelson fashion, he's not tipping his hand just yet.

"We have a special club we're making that I'll be hitting on Monday," he said after the round. "So, we'll see."

Even if Mickelson decides to put a second 3Deep fairway wood or something else in play, there's no question the new 3-wood has given Mickelson a new-found confidence off the tee — something he could use with the Masters less than two weeks away.

"I have a chance now when I show up," he said. "I'm not searching. I'm not trying to find it. I know what it is I'm trying to do and the feelings I'm trying to create to hit certain shots. I have a chance to shoot a low round."

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