- Phil Mickelson always has holes to fill in his golf bag when he travels to Augusta National. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson always seems to be tinkering with his bag setup the week of the Masters. Back in 2006, Mickelson's equipment gamble paid off when he used two Callaway FT-3 drivers to win his second Green Jacket. One driver was 46 inches long, with 9 degrees of loft and a draw bias. The other was 45 inches long, with 10 degrees of loft and a fade bias.
He followed up two drivers up with Callaway's X Hot Phrankewood last year -- an 8.5-degree, smaller-headed driver that acted more like a fairway wood and allowed the three-time Masters winner to get more rollout on his drives, something he mentioned gave him an extra club or two less into some of the holes at Augusta National.
While it's easy to look at his tinkering ways and call it "Classic Phil," Mickelson said there's a method to his madness, and it all starts with some of the holes that have been re-designed over the last eight years.
Instead of being able to hit sand wedge or gap wedge into holes, Mickelson said it's no longer an option on some of them.
"It's just kind of one of those unique things," Mickelson said, "when the course got re‑designed, I've never really talked about it, I don't know why I am now, it's just kind of a novelty, but the last six, seven, eight years, since the re‑design, the holes that we used to hit sand wedge, gap wedge in, No. 1, No. 9, sometimes 14, sometimes 17, you just can't now and there really are not other holes.
"I guess you could play to that yardage on 3, but I never do, I like to go past that bunker. I just never have that area. I always get a couple free clubs here, and I always try to find something that kind of helps me out. This year not too much other than just a 64‑degree wedge in case I need it."
According to Mickelson, he usually has two free spots in his bag because he's not had a shot between 90 and 130 yards -- a yardage that would typically fit his gap wedge or sand wedge -- in recent years.
"For the past six or seven years I've played this tournament, I have not had a shot between 90 and 130 yards," Mickelson said. "So think about that. I have not ever had a shot between 90 and 130 yards. So I have a 40‑yard gap there. I take out my sand wedge and gap wedge because I don't ever need them and it allows me to put in two special clubs. That's why I'm always working on something."
In the past he's been able to fill the spot with a wedge and one other club, like another driver or Phrankenwood. But for whatever reason, he admitted that he doesn't need a special club this year.
Mickelson said he'll fill one of the open slot with a 64-degree Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedge that he had in the bag the last two weeks at the Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open.
As for the other club? Even Mickelson's not sure what he'll use. It'll most likely be a gap or sand wedge that will only take up space and give him 14 clubs for the week.
"I'm driving the ball well," Mickelson said. "I like my -- I love my driver. I love my 3‑wood. I love my other clubs that I have. And so I'm not going to play with 13 clubs, but I don't know what that 14th club is going to be. I'll throw one in, the sand or gap wedge in, just out of default but I don't ever use them here."