By now you know the story: Phil Mickelson visits Dave Stockton Sr. in mid-September at the behest of caddie Jim Mackay, and suddenly Mickelson starts to putt like, well, Mickelson. Check that Mickelson at his absolute best. "It took Michelle Wie five days," Stockton says. "I told Phil, 'You won't even need that. In two days you're going to make everything you look at.'"
Mickelson didn't make everything he looked at the first time he applied what he learned under Stockton and sons' tutelage at the Tour Championship, but he came close. "He just wasn't seeing the line like he used to," Stockton says.
Mickelson's setup had also sagged. "He got into his address and then (Dave) Junior nearly pushed him over with his index finger," Stockton says. "Phil is smart — it didn't take much after that."
He's right. The photos here show how the small changes that Stockton made to Lefty's approach paid immediate dividends, and why the golf world is suddenly on edge for Tiger v. Phil 2010. With a star-studded coaching lineup that features swing guru Butch Harmon, strategist nonpareil Dave Pelz and now Stockton, Mickelson may well have his biggest year yet.
CHANGE 1: GRIP
"Phil overlapped the index finger of his lead hand over the knuckles of his trail hand, like a lot of golfers do," Stockton says. "But that straight finger creates tension all the way up your lead arm. Tension is a killer when putting."