ATLANTA – Phil Mickelson is no stranger to tinkering.
This is, after all, the same guy who played a Masters with two drivers in his bag and a U.S. Open (2008) without a driver; so when Lefty revealed after his round Friday at the Tour Championship that he’s testing three new drivers it probably shouldn’t have been a surprise.
“I had three different ones. I was trying to get the right settings. I settled on two, and yesterday the first one didn't work out and this one did,” Mickelson said.
On Thursday at East Lake, Mickelson hit just a single fairway on his way to a 4-over 74. Things improved on Friday – he hit 5 of 14 fairways – but Mickelson finished with a 72 and was tied for 25th in the 29-man field when he completed his second round.
Still, Mickelson said he needed to make the move with an eye toward next week’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National, which can be stretched to 7,600 yards. After a practice round on Monday in Minnesota, Lefty said he wanted a driver with a longer shaft to pick up a few yards off the tee.
Mickelson said he’s hitting the new driver 18 to 20 yards longer and added that the ability to test the different clubs this week will improve his chances of having a good Ryder Cup.
As for whatever he may have sacrificed this week at East Lake by experimenting with new equipment, Mickelson was at peace with the tradeoff.
“I've won two Tour Championships, and I've only been a part of two winning Ryder Cups. I'd like to be a part of a third,” Mickelson said. “Not to diminish this, but I'd rather win next week. For me, at this stage in my career, it means a little more to me.”