The Big Play: How to drive it like Phil (Not!)

Phil-mick-farm-ship-2_299 Who: Phil
Mickelson What: Lost ball in a eucalyptus tree after a badly sliced drive When: Third round of the Farmers Insurance Open Where: 462-yard par-4 seventh hole at Torrey Pines
Phil Mickelson has always been a poor driver. His swing is built to generate
speed and he hits it a mile, but his very loose, long and handsy swing makes
him wild. In fact, he’s never ranked higher than 160th in driving accuracy.
Last week at the Farmers, Mickelson could have won if he didn't have so much trouble with his driver. (His 41.1 percent driving accuracy ranked 75th of 78 players).
Perhaps the worst of Mickelson’s wild drives came on the seventh hole Saturday, when
he blocked it dead left (just like he did on 18 at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged
Foot) and the ball got lost in a tree. Working with Butch Harmon, Mickelson has
tightened up his swing a bit. But as he demonstrated last week, there’s still
plenty of room for improvement. I don’t think Mickelson will ever make
substantial gains, however, unless he changes his go-for-broke
gambler’s style of play. Doing that might help
Mickelson’s driving, but it could ruin his overall approach to the game, so I
don’t think he’ll make this adjustment. HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR DRIVING Most players swing too hard with a driver, causing them to lose their balance
and hit stray shots. Here’s a good drill to tone down your driver action: Try
to swing with the same speed on the downswing as you use in the backswing.
Doing that isn’t realistic, because you’ll never swing as slowly as you think.
But attempting to slow down will throttle you back to where you want to be with
the driver, which is about 75 percent of your capacity.Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Steve Bosdosh is the director of instruction at the Members Club at Four Streams in Beallsville, Md. (Photo: Robert Beck/SI)

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