SAN DIEGO — Phil Mickelson decided not to carry a driver in his bag Thursday at the U.S. Open. Here is what he had to say in his post-round press conference:
Your driver, Phil, not a driver, we talked all about it this morning. What is it? The 11 and a half degree?
"No, no, that's my 3-wood I've been using all year. You
noticed that I didn't have a driver today, huh? My game plan was that I
only want to hit it a certain distance, I don't really want to hit it
past 300 yards on most of the par-4s because it starts running into the
rough. And I felt like with the fairways being firm like they were
today all I needed was 3-wood on the holes.
Now if it rains or gets softer, I'll certainly pull driver out. But my
game plan for months was, if it's firm fairways like I expected, 3-wood
was all I needed. And I was able to take advantage of the two par-5s
and get home no problem and that's all that, that's the most important
Did you have it in there in the practice rounds as well?
"I carried driver, I just didn't hit it."
Was it to make room for an extra wedge, is that what it was?
"I have four wedges in there. I took out my sand wedge and I teed off with 3-wood and hybrid all day today." [Mickelson is using a Callaway prototype pitching wedge and Forged Chrome Mac Daddy 52°, 60°, 64° wedges.]
Was it disappointing early, having not used driver, and using that game plan, when you weren't hitting the fairway?
"Oh, yeah. When I hit it in the rough — I had been
hitting almost all the fairways with this 3-wood in practice rounds and
so forth. So when I made some terrible swings and hit in the rough it
kind of defeats the game plan because now I'm short and crooked.
But when I started hitting fairways coming down the stretch I made
birdies. So I expect to swing a little bit more confidently like I did
on the back nine as opposed to the start and I know this happens when I
play and don't play the week before a major. I'm always a little rusty
on the front nine. And I'm glad that I was able to keep it in check and
only shoot a few over and recover on the back."
Is 3-wood a decision you'll make tomorrow just before the round?
"No, it will have to rain. I mean, it will have to rain and soften the fairways in order for me to put in a club that goes longer than that 3-wood."
Phil, how strong is that 3-wood?
"It's just a normal 3-wood. You guys just have not hit our new Callaway FT fairway woods yet, have you? They go a long ways."
Can you remember never carrying a driver in a round?
"I don't think I ever have. I know Pelz has been wanting me to play a tournament without hitting driver and hitting 3-woods all the way through, so here you are Dave.
Look, when the fairways run out like this, you can only hit it a certain distance and then the fairway starts tightening up. Of course, they looked pretty tight for me on the first 13 holes too."
(Photo by John Biever/SI)
More Fairway Wood Content:
- ClubTest: Fairway woods for better players
- ClubTest: Fairway woods for multiple player types
- GOLF.com Club Finder: Fairway woods