** Update: Mickelson, trailing by seven shots going into the third round,
warmed up Saturday with his driver on the range under the watchful eye of
teacher Butch Harmon. The driver is in the bag for his third round. **
There is growing sentiment that Phil Mickelson, that tinkerer of tinkerers, is outsmarting himself in ditching his driver on the longest U.S. Open course in history. (Judy Rankin, the Hall of Fame golfer, hinted at just that during Friday's television coverage of the championship.) When Mickelson misses fairways with his strong 3-wood -- he has only hit 12 of 28 on the week -- he is so far back that making par becomes unnecessarily difficult. Is anybody else playing this golf course without a driver?
Mickelson said Friday: "I've got to hit the balls in the fairway. When I do I'm able to play the course effectively. I'm able to make some birdies, make easy pars. When I don't, it's been very tough." David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel lets Philly Mick know what he thinks of this no-driver strategy. I happen to agree with Whitley. Enough clowning around. Let the Big Dog eat!