Whether he hits a miracle shot through the trees to win a tournament (Colonial ‘08), bogeys three of the final four holes to lose one (WGC-Bridgestone ’08) or slaps a tee shot off a tent on the way to losing a chance at three straight major titles (U.S. Open ’06), Phil Mickelson remains the PGA Tour’s ultimate daredevil and crash dummy. Two drivers. No drivers. Five wedges. Golf scribes can’t get enough of him on the eve of the PGA Championship. From Steve Elling of CBS Sports.com:
"Every week is an open audition of sorts for the clubs in Mickelson’s bag. Phil’s casting calls can be wildly unpredictable. When the curtain on the weekly show rises, this time at the 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, it’s often hard to predict which 14-club assortment he’ll cart to the first tee.
Recall a few weeks back in June, when he showed up at Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open without a driver and got publicly egged for being a moron, or a month earlier, when he carried five wedges at Colonial and was hailed as a genius.
Two pretty fitting extremes for a guy who represents the outer reaches of radicalism as it relates to mixing and matching clubs. Mickelson, 38, has heard variations on this theme many times before and learned to shrug it off: He’s so bright, he’s stupid."
"My biggest concerns regarding the state of Mickelson’s game come from two sources: this year’s U.S. Open and last year’s Players Championship. Torrey Pines was arguably the biggest tournament of his life: a national championship played 20 minutes from his childhood home with the only guy ahead of him in the World Ranking coming off knee surgery. It boggles the mind to think someone such as [short-game guru] Dave Pelz could convince Mickelson he would be better off playing a 7,600-yard golf course without a driver.
In the words of one highly respected observer, ‘We’re talking about the greatest wedge player in the world. Does he really need five of them?’"
"Mickelson again got a case of the ‘lefts’ off the tee on Bridgestone’s back nine. The shot has seemingly been his curse on the 72nd hole, with troubles on that side in losses at Winged Foot in ’06, Riviera in ’07 and Bridgestone last week.
But the lefty insists that if he misses the fairway, that’s where he wants to be. Left.
‘I’m trying to take half the trouble out of play,’ Mickelson explained. ‘I want to set up down the right edge of the fairway and hit a cut. If I miss it left, it doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is if I hook it.’
A glass-half-full outlook, to be sure, but Mickelson is the king of turning something into nothing, and nothing into something."