Phil Mickelson is a master tinkerer when it comes to the clubs he wields in any given golf tournament, but the reigning British Open champion proclaimed Tuesday that the new Callaway driver he’ll put in play to kick off his 2014 season this week in Abu Dhabi could be just the stick he needs to cadge that elusive national title.
"I think [winning] any major championship would make the year special and memorable," he said ahead of this week’s $2.7 million HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, according to multiple reports. "I do believe that I’ll win a U. S. Open. I don’t know if it’s at Pinehurst this year. It very well could be, or in the future. I play well in that tournament too often to not believe or be confident in my ability to close that tournament out."
The reason for Lefty’s optimism to start this year (as opposed to his usual half-glass-full outlook) was all about a new addition to Team Phil. With what he termed "a whole different weapon in my arsenal," Mickelson said the best was yet to come for him.
"As I look back on 2013 I played some of my best golf and had some huge breakthroughs but I did most of it without a driver," said Mickelson, who rebounded from a heartbreaking and record sixth runner-up finish at the U.S. Open to lift his first Claret Jug a month later. "This year I have the best driver I've ever hit that lowers my spin rate just like my three-wood. I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my three-wood.
"It's a whole different weapon in my arsenal now," added Phil, "and if I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and in the off-season, heading into this 2014 season it could be the best year of my career for that simple reason."
Mickelson will bat the ball with a 9.5-degree Big Bertha Alpha driver, according to Golfweek.com’s Alistair Tait, but if history is any indication, Phil may be swooning over another piece of equipment before the week is out.
For the immediate future, at any rate, Mickelson believes the Alpha driver could make him the alpha male on tour this year.
"The 2014 season could be the best year of my career," he said.