2005: PGA Championship - Mickelson equipment defies convention

What was in Phil Mickelson’s bag at the PGA Championship?

The short answer: Mickelson, a Callaway staff player, carried 12 Callaway clubs and used the Callaway HX Tour 56 ball. His other two clubs were a TaylorMade 3-wood (13-degree r7) and a Titleist 5-wood (17-degree 980F).

But there is much more to the story of Mickelson’s clubs. For example, he used Callaway’s new FT-3 driver with 9.5 degrees of loft. Although this may sound like too much loft for Mickelson, who hits the ball extremely high, it should be apparent that Mickelson is his own man when it comes to choosing equipment.

Mickelson is unafraid to defy convention.

His FT-3 is 45 inches in length, standard for the club, but he employs an unusual draw configuration in his driver. The FT-3 is sold in fade, neutral and draw configurations, with the draw setup aimed primarily at average golfers who fade or slice the ball.

Mickelson is one of a handful of PGA Tour players who favor a draw bias in their drivers. Mickelson went to a draw driver because, when he “holds on” through impact, he can fade the ball without fear of hitting a gigantic push.

The shaft in Mickelson’s driver also is different. He uses a Graphite Design PM702 shaft, with an X flex. The shaft weighs 73 grams and is widely available for consumer purchase.

Known primarily for its YS line of shafts, Graphite Design also supplies the PM902 shafts for both of Mickelson’s fairway woods. The PM902 shaft is about 20 grams heavier than his driver shaft.

Mickelson’s irons (3-iron through PW at the PGA) are Callaway forged X-Tour. Rather than standard length, though, they are three-quarters of an inch over (extra long). He uses Rifle Project-X 7.0 steel shafts.

His wedges (52, 56 and 60 degrees) are Callaway Vintage Forged Plus models. Actually the 52-degree wedge is bent to 51 degrees, but the 60 is a true 60, dispelling the myth that the flop-happy Mickelson uses a 64-degree wedge. His blade putter is an Odyssey prototype, designated simply as PM Prototype. The putter is not yet available for retail sale.

Nike came to the PGA Championship with a prototype driver, the Tour 460 SQ. The company wanted to keep the driver a secret, but such plans were shortcircuited when several players – including Stephen Ames and K.J. Choi – not only used the driver in the championship but also talked enthusiastically about its virtues. Nike is rumored to be planning a five-city barnstorming tour with the new driver in September.

If there was an equipment controversy at the PGA, it was provided by John Daly. Unhappy with his putting, Daly elected to blame his woes on his Dunlop Redneck putter. Daly said repeatedly that the hosel was coming loose in all his Redneck putters (he has several dozen). The Redneck features a milled carbon steel head and an anodized aluminum hosel, which is epoxied into the head.

Dunlop officials had not seen the putters and didn’t fully understand Daly’s comments, but were quick to point out that all the putters were assembled by an independent clubmaker on the PGA Tour and not by the Dunlop factory. The Redneck was designed with a number of mix-and-match head and hosel designs. Daly, using the putter without complaint in 2004, finished fifth in putting average on the PGA Tour.

Hybrid clubs and fairway woods were extremely popular at the PGA. More than 70 players – almost half the field – carried one kind of hybrid or another. The common hybrid categories are hybrid woods (such as the TaylorMade Rescue) and hybrid irons (such as the Titleist 503.H).

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