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Equipment Report
  • EQUIPMENT

    Phil Mickelson uses longer arm-lock putter at Fortinet Championship

  • Phil Mickelson extended his putter to 41 inches with a little more loft than his normal blade specs. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)Phil Mickelson extended his putter to 41 inches with a little more loft than his normal blade specs. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson has never been afraid to experiment, even after the age of 50.

His tinkering has continued into this new season, where he unveiled some tweaks to his putter in this week’s season-opening Fortinet Championship. Mickelson used the new flatstick to gain nearly a stroke on the greens in his first-round 70 at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California.

He is still using the same prototype head – a blade-style similar to the classic Wilson 8802 -- that he unveiled when he began experimenting with arm-lock putting at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. The prototype, which has a similar appearance to the Odyssey PM Blade that he has used for years, is built to rotate less throughout the stroke.

This week, Mickelson added loft to the putter while using a longer grip and shaft. He said Thursday that he’s been messing with the grip extension for approximately six weeks.

“It takes a little getting used to, but it seems like I’ve had moments where I just start rolling it in from everywhere,” Mickelson said.

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Phil Mickelson has experimented before with arm-lock putting in Memphis last season. (Courtesy of GolfWRX)

Callaway Senior Club Performance Analyst Gerritt Pon, who works closely with Mickelson on his equipment, said the SuperStroke WristLock on Mickelson’s putter is now 17 inches, which Pon said is “a little longer than previously.”

“The putter is extended to 41 inches with a little more loft than his normal blade specs,” Pon said. “The longer grip allows him to grip down a little more than the original wrist-lock grip.”

The putter Mickelson used in Memphis, Tennessee, was 40.75 inches. By adding a quarter-inch to the putter and extending the grip, Mickelson is effectively “choking down” on the putter more.

“I did putt well, so I thought it was good,” Mickelson said Thursday. “I'm hitting them solid, online. So tomorrow I need to get a good round, I need to shoot something (in the) mid-60s. I'm playing well enough to do it, I believe, and I'm certainly putting well enough.”

Mickelson’s second round at Silverado is scheduled to begin at 4:05 p.m. Eastern.