NEWS FROM THE TOUR VANS
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When it comes to watching preparations for the Masters, gearheads always have their eyes on three-time victor Phil Mickelson. Whether it’s using two 9.5-degree Callaway Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 drivers on his way to winning the 2006 tournament or putting in a “Phrankenwood” – a souped-up 3-wood with a driver-length shaft and lower loft – at the 2013 event, Mickelson usually has had something odd up his sleeve.
This time around is no different. During an appearance on “The Callaway Golf Podcast,” Mickelson revealed he will play this year’s Masters with a full set of game-improvement irons, which are designed to help recreational players. Instead of his normal setup with Callaway Epic Forged long irons and Apex MB mid and short irons, all of his irons will be Epic Forged.
“At Augusta, the grain of the grass is – they started mowing from the green back to the tee,” Mickelson said. “And so you’re always into the grain for your approach shot. And the ball tends to sit down a little bit lower – you’re always catching it like a groove low, and the ball is then launching a little low and it’s spinning a little more. And it’s hard to get the ball up.
“So I’m using the Epic Forged Irons that I’ve always had – or I’ve had the 4- and 5-iron in my bag for some time. I’ve used the 6- and 7-irons for some time, but I’m also going to use the short irons, the 8, 9 and wedge. And it’s funny, because it’s kind of a higher handicap club, because the ball takes off the face so fast.”
Designed to protect against mis-hits, the Epic Forged irons will help Mickelson with a higher launch and softer landing on his approach shots. At other venues where wind is more of a factor, that wouldn’t be ideal. However, the wind usually is not a major influence at the Masters.
“I’m trying to hit every iron shot at Augusta, all the way from 1 through 18, as high and as soft as I can, and eliminate the ball running because the greens are so fast when they’re releasing the ball tends to not stop,” Mickelson said. “Those Epic Forged irons allow me to hit it full, hit the ball way up in the air, (and) come in a lot softer into those greens.”
It’s not the only significant move he is making on his way to Augusta National. Mickelson also will go for broke off the tee by using a 47.5-inch driver, which could provide him with more wedge shots into greens.
“Well, at Augusta most of the (drives) carry the bunkers and open up the fairways a little bit,” Mickelson said. “So on No. 1, to carry the bunker on the right, to carry the bunker on 2, to carry the bunker on 8, (and) to get it over the hill on 14 and 17, you really want to fly the ball 315-320 (yards) minimum and that seems like a lot, and it is a lot. It’s just that if you can fly it (that distance) there you have a chance to take advantage of some of those holes.
“For example, No. 1, if you can carry that bunker it’s a sand wedge in and you’re thinking birdie. If you have to hit a 3-wood off of the tee and go to the side, or if you can’t carry it and you have to play more to the left, it’s a 6- or 7-iron into the green, so you’re thinking par. So there’s the ability to attack a number of holes if you can fly the ball a little bit farther.”