Mickelson set to begin 2014 with new driver


This may come as a surprise, but Phil Mickelson has decided to tinker with his equipment.

After a successful year in which Mickelson used five wedges at times and adopted the "Phrankenwood" en route to winning at Muirfield, the five-time major champion explained Tuesday that he will have a new Callaway driver in the bag when he joins Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jamie Donaldson for the first round of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

"As I look back on 2013, I played some of my best golf and had some huge breakthroughs but I did most of it without a driver," the southpaw told reporters.

The stat sheet indicates that Mickelson has room for improvement off the tee. Despite ranking first on Tour in birdie average and 12th in scoring average during the 2013 season, Lefty was only 93rd in driving distance and 149th in driving accuracy, a category in which he hasn't cracked the top 140 since 2004.

"This year I have the best driver I've ever hit that lowers my spin rate just like my three-wood. I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my three-wood," he added. "It's a whole different weapon in my arsenal now and if I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and in the off-season, heading into this 2014 season it could be the best year of my career for that simple reason."