No one was bad-mouthing Phil Mickelson when he won at Augusta National in 2006 using two drivers. He was a revolutionary at Winged Foot for adding a 64° wedge (well ... until... you know) and cunning at Colonial for going with five wedges.
Then, Lefty took a lot of heat at Torrey Pines for not using a driver. His thinking was that going with a strong 3-wood would mean he'd find the fairways more often, offsetting the sacrificed distance. But missing all those fairways created a double whammy; Mickelson had to not only hit from the rough, but needed longer clubs to reach the greens.
So how does he decide which clubs get to see the course each week?
"Sometimes when we just play a course we realize we haven't used a certain club," Mickelson said Wednesday during his press conference before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "Other times it'll be a computer program that we'll use to identify what element of the game is more important." According to Mickelson, Dave Pelz (right with Mickelson) developed the software he uses, and it's taught him something very interesting.
"If you increase any statistical category 10 percent across the board, it lowers scores. Okay, 10 percent fewer putts obviously lower scores. But 10 percent more greens, 10 percent closer to the hole, 10 percent more fairways, every one lowers scores except longer driving distance. Longer drives does not equate to lower scores on any course in America except one. There's one golf course in America where 10 percent longer driving equates to lower scores, and what would you think it would be? Augusta National."
So the next time you play Augusta National, feel free to grip it and rip it. And when a guy in a green jacket asks you what's with the John Daly impression, tell him Mickelson said it's okay.
(Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)