Phil powering toward Augusta National


DORAL, Fla. – There’s little doubt Phil Mickelson is not pleased with pedestrian cards of 73-71-72 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, but he can at least take solace in how far he’s hitting the ball this week.

“He’s a club and a half longer than most of us,” Graeme McDowell said on Friday following two days in Lefty’s group. “When he starts drawing it, it just goes forever.”

Mickelson is hitting the ball so far it prompted one member of the media to only half-jokingly suggest the Tour’s performance-enhancing drug testers need to pay him a visit, “But they would only find In-n-Out (burgers) in there,” joked another scribe.

Although Mickelson ranks 60th on Tour with a 290.6-yard average (10 yards shorter than he was in 2006), he’s second in the field this week with a 311-yard average at Doral, which traditionally plays long because of the heat and humidity.

Not that Lefty has ever been short. In 1993, his rookie year on Tour, he ranked 26th in driving distance (269-yard average), but the 40-year-old’s newfound power comes following a difficult year for Mickelson who was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis last summer.

“He feels really good and is really getting after it,” said Sean Cochran, Mickelson’s fitness guru.