May 30, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson has both a 10.5-degree and 9-degree driver in the bag this week at the Memorial Tournament. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
In 2006, Phil Mickelson famously used two drivers – one to hit a draw and one to hit a fade – at the BellSouth Classic, where he won by 13 shots, and a week later at the Masters, where he won his second green jacket.
While the strategy worked, Mickelson hasn’t returned to the dual-driver setup in a “long time,” as he said in a social media video post on Thursday. That is, not until this week at the Memorial Tournament.
Mickelson posted a video on Twitter and Instagram on Thursday, before his 1:16 p.m. ET tee-time, explaining – in his own way -- that he’ll be using two different drivers during competition this week at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
One of the drivers is a 10.5-degree Callaway Epic Flash head equipped with a shorter length shaft – “about an inch-and-a-quarter” shorter, according to Mickelson -- so he can hit “cute little cuts into the fairway,” as he explained in his social media post. The other driver is a 9-degree Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero head equipped with a longer length shaft in order to “hit bombs.”
With the longer of the two drivers, as Mickelson explained to the media following his Thursday round, he has a more upward angle of attack and it results in a ball speed increase of 4 mph. The longer setup also allows Mickelson to keep up with the “young guys” in ways that his body cannot.
“My swing is different than a lot of the young guys, where they’re very connected and have fast twitch muscles that explode through the ball,” Mickelson said. “My body moves a little more lethargic. I use length of arc for great speed. I need longer shafts and timing to be able to create the same kind of speed.”
The longer driver, however, does have drawbacks. Mickelson says that the longer-shafted driver launches about 16 or 17 degrees, which is “such a high launch you can’t control that 14 times a round.”
The shorter driver, on the other hand, launches “closer to 11.5, 12” degrees, which is “much easier to control,” as Mickelson said.
Although Mickelson said in his Thursday post-round interview with the Golf Channel that six holes at Muirfield Village Golf Club “open up” around 325 yards, which he says he can achieve using the longer of the two drivers, he wants to “get a little work done” hitting cut shots with the shorter driver to prepare for upcoming events such as the U.S. Open and Open Championship.
“I wanted to try to do well here [at the Memorial], but wanted to get practice in with the [shorter driver],” Mickelson said. “I felt like I hit the long driver, [I] probably hit it five or six times. More than a three wood, which I took out.”
Mickelson, who is playing with two drivers and no fairway wood, shot a first-round 70 (2-under) at the Memorial Tournament, hitting 50 percent of his fairways and averaging 310.5 yards off the tee.