Phil Mickelson is a numbers man. It’s something we’ve known for decades, but the extent to which he analyzes his shots has never been so apparent than when he sat down with David Feherty this week.
In a sneak peek provided exclusively to GOLF.com from Part II of Mickelson’s conversation on Feherty, which airs at 9 p.m. Monday on Golf Channel, Mickelson goes into excruciating detail about his pre-shot routine, including how he analyzes lies, air temperature and the grain of the grass he’s hitting off before making his swing.
“In my practice, I build a reference,” Mickelson said. “So I hit the same shot over and over, building a 9-iron that goes 145 yards, let’s say. Now, that will vary based on temperature and altitude, which will change with time of day and whatnot as well as wind and those effects. One of the things people might say is, ‘I hit my wedge 120. Well, you might hit your wedge 120 under certain conditions, but in the morning, ball’s not going to go 120. Maybe in the afternoon when it’s warmer and the ball heats up. But it’s going to go five to 10 yards shorter in the morning. People don’t factor that in.”
Mickelson then jumps in to a head-spinning checklist of things he assesses before hitting his shot: grain direction, type of grass, temperature, wind, altitude, moisture on the club, and more. It’s equally mystifying and mind-boggling to hear him describe it.
“All these things I have to factor in when I look at the lie,” Mickelson said. “How is the lie, and how is the ball going to come out relative to my 145 9-iron? What’s the lie going to do? What’s the temperature? What’s the wind? How do I want the ball coming into the green…Those are the nuances that allow me to be so precise with my wedges and my short irons.”
So you’re telling us, Lefty, that it’s not magic? Whatever it is, it’s obvious it works — his short game mastery was on full display in Mexico, with Mickelson hitting all over the course, saving par and holing out for birdie.
Part II of the interview airs at 9 p.m. EST on Monday on Golf Channel, and you can catch “Phil the Physicist” below. And if you missed Part I, you’re in luck — the first part of the interview will air ahead of the new release at 8 p.m.