The Masters 2013: Be afraid of Phil Mickelson's latest monster at Augusta
American confident cross-club creation can cut his scoring as he seeks fourth Jacket
Thursday 11 April 2013
Phil Mickelson has been channelling Boris Karloff in his preparation for a tilt at a fourth Green Jacket. He has created a monster. His Frankenstein is his Phrankenwood, as he calls it.
It looks like a 3-wood but it's a driver. Or it looks like a driver but it's a 3-wood. Or something. Engineered with hammers and tongs and nuts and bolts and blasts of electricity in a dungeon at his club supplier Callaway's castle deep in the forests of California, Phil breathed life into Phrankenwood this week and took it for a walk among the famous Augusta azaleas.
OK, pay attention, here comes the science bit. "It's 3-wood technology but it's got a driver shaft in it. It's 45 inches with eight-and-half degrees of loft," Mickelson said. "It's a larger 3-wood but you heard me say it's my driver, right? I mean, I don't know if I'm getting this clear. Our drivers are so big now but this one is smaller because it's an enhanced 3-wood. It's hot like our 3-wood. We had to put hot in the name. It's so hot," Mickelson said laughing. Enough already, pass the headache tablets, we got it, Phil.
Mickelson got the spark for this crazy invention after thrashing Callaway's new X Hot 3-wood as far as the driver he used to win in Phoenix earlier this year. "I couldn't believe it," he said. "It shot off the face." He's been road testing it for its major debut by hitting it off the tees in Miami and Houston at the tournaments running up to the Masters, where he twice finished 16th. "I asked the engineers to take the technology in that 3-wood and just put it on steroids, which is probably not the best way to say it," he said to much laughter. "I wanted to make it more like a driver. You'll see a lot of the shots off the tee that I hit will have a lot more scoot on them," he said. "Tee shots on 9 are getting to the bottom of the hill. I haven't been able to do that in years. Tee shots on 10 are getting another 20 yards."
And at the 15th, Phrankenwood has been shaving two clubs off Mickelson's approach shots to the par-five. Birdies and eagles await.
This creation is not unusual behaviour from Mickelson, who has previous when it comes to zany madcap ideas. He won the 2006 Masters with two drivers – one to hit a draw, the other to hit a fade. He didn't even bother putting a driver in the bag at the 2008 US Open, and at the 2012 BMW Championship, he went retro with a nine-year-old fairway wood.
Phrankenwood's extra monster yards will make Mickelson competitive again with the young bombers. Lefty is 42 now; he is not driving it 'out there' with the kids anymore, averaging just 288 yards in a world where 300 yards is now the minimum standard. But Augusta National is Mickelson's manor. He loves it – and the fans (sorry, patrons) love Lefty back with his goofy grin, lolloping gait and Arnie Palmer-style thumbs up to the galleries. This is his 21st Masters and, along with those victories in 2004, 2006 and 2010, he has 14 top 10s. "It comes from knowing I don't have to play perfectly to play well here," Mickelson said. "I don't have to hit perfect shots to make pars. It's not like the US Open where if you make one little mistake, it's costing you one or two shots because you don't have the ability to recover. I think that's what's exciting about Augusta National – the recovery shot." And there is no finer exponent of the crowd-pleasing wow-factor flamboyant recovery shot than Mickelson.
Phil and Phrankenwood will set off to scare the hell out of the locals in the stellar company of 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and 2010 US PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer. Be afraid.
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Arsenal transfer targets: The summer signings that would please Thierry Henry, including Sami Khedira and Edinson Cavani
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 Stephen Hawking endorses Labour in the General Election
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding