Toy Box: Mickelson experiments at Presidents Cup

Phil Mickelson exercised the flexibility in his Callaway contract as he changed woods several times during the 2013 Presidents Cup.

Phil Mickelson often switches his metalwoods, and he exhibits no reluctance to do so at major championships or important team events.

He carried no driver on the first day of the Presidents Cup – using a 13-degree Callaway X Hot 3Deep off the tee – then on Day 2 played the new TaylorMade SLDR driver, reportedly with 9.5 degree of loft.

Harry Arnett, senior vice president of marketing for Callaway Golf, is well-versed in Mickelson’s experimental tendencies. “He has a very flexible contract, and from time to time he will try clubs from other companies,” Arnett said. “We understand this.”

Callaway has kept Mickelson in its fold, in part, by designing new clubs specifically for him. At this year’s Masters, Mickelson showed up with a low-spinning, small-headed 8.5-degree club called the Phrankenwood that he used off the tee.

Low spin is the newest theme for Mickelson and his metalwoods. The SLDR represents a new breed of low-spin drivers, and it offers a lesson for golfers: Any driver with less spin requires additional loft to achieve the proper trajectory and carry distance. For most golfers, low spin is counterproductive without high trajectory.

Said Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation: “Our Tour players are averaging about 1 degree more loft in their SLDR drivers. Some consumers need more than that.”

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