January 15, 2014
- Getty Images and Callaway Golf
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Phil Mickelson will have a new Callaway driver in the bag at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
After spending a good portion of last season employing a driver-less setup — Mickelson used Callaway's taller-faced X Hot 3Deep fairway wood as his "driver" to win the British Open and Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open — Mickelson confirmed he would be carrying a 9.5-degree Big Bertha Alpha for the first time.
"As I look back on 2013 I played some of my best golf and had some huge breakthroughs," Mickelson said. "But I did most of it without a driver."
The low-spin Big Bertha Alpha features a "Gravity Core" in the sole of the club that allows spin and launch angle to be adjusted independently (also known as CG height).
According to Mickelson, the spin numbers and distance gains he saw with Big Bertha Alpha, during the offseason, convinced him to add driver back to the bag over X Hot 3Deep — a club Mickelson had Callaway's R&D team build him (along with X Hot Phrankenwood) in preparation for the Masters that combined driver distance with fairway wood accuracy.
The unorthodox driver-less setup didn't lead to a win at Augusta National, but it paid dividends later in the year at the British Open, as he used X Hot 3Deep off the tee to win his fifth major championship.
Mickelson's hoping Big Bertha Alpha can help him replicate last year's success off the tee with X Hot 3Deep.
"This year, we have the best driver I've ever hit that lowers my spin rate just like my 3‑wood," Mickelson said. "I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my 3‑wood. It's a whole different weapon in my arsenal now. And if I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and I have been this off‑season, heading into this 2014 season, could be the best year of my career for that simple reason."
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