SOUTHPORT, England – Considering he’s played one major, the 2008 U.S. Open, without a driver in his bag and another, the 2006 Masters, with two, Phil Mickelson’s methods Tuesday at Royal Birkdale should have come as no surprise.
Mickelson arrived early on Tuesday to tinker with a modified 3-iron, a Callaway Epic model, that has been bent to 16 degrees, which is closer to a 2-iron loft.
He also had a 3-iron in the bag with standard loft as well as his normal 3-wood during his practice round with Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
"We came out here and spent Saturday and Sunday in the conditions and the winds that we’re going to see, and there really wasn’t a driver even potentially until we got to 15 for me, the way I felt I wanted to play the golf course and avoid the bunkers,” Mickelson said.
"I’ve been really working on hitting that 3-iron head-high, and getting it down quick. It’s been something I’ve been working on the last couple weeks, and that shot’s not going to be affected by weather."
According to Mickelson’s caddie, his brother Tim, Lefty has his driver with him and could add it to his bag depending on conditions, which will become increasingly more windy as the championship heads into the weekend.
"I really hope that the weather comes in and we can all experience what The Open Championship is famous for. It looks like that’s going to happen,” Mickelson said. “If that happens, I believe that the ability to get the ball on the ground, avoid bunkers, use short game and get up and down could really be a factor to help get up in the leaderboard and in contention."