Truth & Rumors: Phil Mickelson reveals the secret of his precision

When Phil Mickelson ordered his caddie to tend the flagstick for a 72-yard wedge shot last week at Torrey Pines, there was some debate as to whether it was a smart play or a showy one. At the Waste Management Open this week, Mickelson helped put that discussion to rest when he revealed one of the laborious iron-game drills he executes under Dave Pelz's watch—and the staggering precision he has gained from it. Golfweek's James Achenbach reports:

"We don't work with technique, we work on how to practice," Mickelson said. "When we work, we're building a foundation that carries over to the golf course. For instance, I do a towel drill where I try to fly my irons a specific yardage, and I hit 1,500 balls a month to those specific yardages and have for the last seven years.
"So when I get a wedge shot like No. 18 (at Torrey Pines) that's 72 yards and my towel drill number is 75, I only have to alter it three yards to get it to fly to my number. And over seven years of doing this, I can usually fly it within a yard 95 percent of the time."
Mickelson also said he has switched to a softer, spinnier ball in 2011, the Callaway Tour i(s), which has been a boon to him in chillier weather.
"When it gets cold, [my former] ball doesn't compress as well, and when it hits the face, the face actually moves, and the misses get exaggerated, and this golf ball doesn't do that. This golf ball compresses very easily, so I hit it a lot straighter in cold conditions."
Think Phil's a savant? Get a load of Bubba Watson. Phoenix Open = 'Chaos with cleavage'Nice job by The Wall Street Journal's David Weiss, who captures the ever-colorful and much-publicized scene at the Waste Management Phoenix Open without dragging out the same old tired clichés. (He did slip up by framing the rowdy 16th hole as the "Roman Colosseum of par-threes," but that was neutralized by likening Hunter Mahan to a "jam-band rhythm guitarist"):
Saddling the game's younger fans with hoary concepts like politesse and restraint is so last millennium. Phoenix locals have come to regard this PGA Tour event as a mere green-screen backdrop for 96 hours of drunken tomfoolery; they could as easily be at a NASCAR race or the Kentucky Derby. The atmosphere at this weekend's festivities is more WWF than R&A, a kind of bentgrass, suburban Woodstock.
The same TV network that treats Augusta National as sacred ground doesn't object. "Chaos with cleavage," is what golf pro and CBS analyst Gary McCord calls this week's proceedings at TPC Scottsdale. "That's about it—and if the weather is good, it's frightening." (So far it isn't—more like frigid.)
So we can cut the PGA Tour a little slack this weekend. With the rock 'n roll Super Bowl sucking all of the media oxygen out of the country, crew-cutted and conservative golf needs a little razzmatazz just to keep up. They don't have Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson to spice up the proceedings with "accidental" nudity, even though CBS could find plenty of girls-gone-wild moments in the gallery if they so chose.
Chicago 'golf dome' deflated by stormGolfers can't seem to catch a break this winter, especially in Chicago, where even indoor golf has been ravaged by the inclement conditions. Witness the "inflatable" practice range in Frankfurt, Ill., which after this week's storm now looks like a "giant deflated balloon," according to The Joliet Herald-News.
The range owner, Maggie McEnery, said she guessed the dome's skin will be completely replaced within two weeks. She did not know the cost of the damage but said insurance will cover it.
Unfortunately, McEnery said, she will miss out on potential business during the time it takes to fix the dome. "We were just starting to start rocking that dome," McEnery said. "The (customers) were trying out all of their new Christmas toys."
OK, so a pack of pot-bellied guys with R11s isn't exactly the Black Eyed Peas. But you hear her point. Tweet of the Day
Ogilvy @geoffogilvy: Went for a run in the Valley of the Sun this morning. It was like running in a fridge.

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by Kevin Cunningham