Mickelson’s high-profile switch to a new FT-9 Callaway driver this week turned out to be something of a non-story, with Mickelson finding seven of his 14 fairways on Thursday, more than twice as many as he hit in Round 1 last week in Scottsdale.
“I’ve been able to hit little cuts and keep it in play and I’m excited to put this back in play,” said Mickelson, who carded an opening 70 and is tied for 16th thanks to some clutch early putting.
A Callaway Tour rep said the FT-9 is the progression of the company’s FT-5t and FT-5th Tour models and that it took Mickelson just one day of testing with the FT-9 to make the switch.
Callaway officials had to scramble to build two more models, one to ship to the U.S. Golf Association for approval, and a third model in case something happened to the original. The USGA’s approval came early this week.