Wanting to keep the ball in play, Phil Mickelson will leave the driver at home this week. (Getty Images)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
For the second straight major championship, Phil Mickelson won't have a driver in the bag. The four-time major winner confirmed during his press conference on Tuesday at Muirfield that he'll go with Callaway's X Hot 3Deep as the longest club in his bag and add a fifth wedge.
"I feel like the 64 degree wedge on this firm ground can save me some shots," Mickelson said, "and I just don't see how a driver is going to help me in any areas. I'm able to hit that 3-wood on this firm ground every bit as close enough in distance on the holes. And distance on any tee shot is not even in my mind. It's avoiding bunkers, avoiding rough, getting the ball in the fairway. And I can do it a lot easier with clubs other than driver."
The 13-degree 3Deep fairway wood Mickelson currently employs is a taller-faced version of the X Hot Pro fairway wood that, for him, is almost as long as his driver and gives him the ability to work the ball both ways.
Mickelson went with a similar setup last month at the U.S. Open when we pulled his CallawayX Hot Pro Phrankenwood and replaced it with a 64-degree Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedge.
The only difference between his U.S. Open bag setup and what he could carry this week at The Open Championship is the addition of a 17-degree Ping Anser hybrid that Mickelson had in play last week — Mickelson carried a 17-degree Titleist 980F fairway wood at Merion — when he won the European Tour's Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
With conditions at Muirfield expected to be firm and fast, Mickelson's decision to not use a traditional driver could be a popular choice. Most players in the field will likely still keep driver in the bag, but based on early reports from the course, driving irons and fairway woods will likely to be the club du jour off the tee.