Callaway: Phrankenwood is Lefty's "mystery" club
Sunday, May 5, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. Two weeks ago at the Shell Houston Open, Phil Mickelson talked about a “special club” for the Masters. Many journalists and golf fans have been looking for additional clues ever since.
The club was revealed Monday when Golfweek stumbled across a new 2-wood called Phrankenwood in the Callaway tour van. Because Augusta National Golf Club does not allow tour vans on its property, the Callaway van was parked in a lot across Washington Road from the Augusta National front gate.
Callaway officials confirmed this was the club referenced by Mickelson. However, they do not know whether he will carry Phrankenwood in the Masters.
“Honestly we don’t know,” said Nick Raffaele, Callaway’s vice president of sports marketing. “Everybody knows that Phil does things his own way. So we’re waiting just like you.”
The official name of the new club is X Hot Phrankenwood. It has 12 degrees of loft and is similar to Callaway’s 13-degree X Hot 3Deep 3-wood, already in use by Mickelson. If Mickelson decides to play Phrankenwood, it is speculated he will keep the 3Deep 3-wood in his bag and remove the 9.5-degree Razr Fit Xtreme driver.
This would make Phrankenwood his club of choice off the tee on most par-4s and par-5s. At Houston, he played two of his four rounds without a driver.
How big is Phrankenwood? In the scheme of things, the original Callaway Big Bertha driver from 2001 was about 195 cubic centimeters in volume. This is the same approximate size as the current X Hot 3-wood. The X Hot 3Deep is about 240 CCS, slightly smaller than the new Phrankenwood.
If X Hot is the father of X Hot 3Deep, then X Hot is also the grandfather of X Hot Phrankenwood. The entire X Hot fairway wood family has been a top priority of Callaway chief executive Chip Brewer, who took over in 2012.
According to chief designer Alan Hocknell, Brewer marched into his office and said he wanted the “longest, hottest fairway woods in golf, no excuses.”
The mystery of whether Mickelson will play Phrankenwood could be cleared up at a press conference, scheduled at 2:30 p.m. EDT today at Augusta National.
The new club, with an anticipated final length of 44.5 or 45 inches for Mickelson, should be at least one inch longer than the 43.5-inch X Hot 3Deep. This would allow Mickelson to use the longer club comfortably off the tee (his normal driver is 45 inches).
“If he does this,” Raffaele said, “I think he might hit the ball straighter because of the smaller clubhead.”
In today’s evolving era of supercharged fairway woods, Phrankenwood ended up as a new addition to the U.S. Golf Association’s list of conforming drivers. It is classified as a driver because there was no other category in which to put the club.
Mickelson is credited with the X Hot Phrankenwood idea. As the story goes, he came to Hocknell with the concept of a super-sized fairway club, and the final design included the same Warbird sole, forged speed frame face cup, and internal standing wave as the X Hot 3Deep.
In addition to Phrankenwood, two other Masters developments are associated with Mickelson. One, the Callaway prototype golf ball he has been playing now has a name – Hex Chrome ++. Two, he has hinted to some Callaway insiders he may play a set of X Forged irons for the first time. He has been using Razr X Muscleback irons.
“The ball is a little brighter white, and he likes that,” said Raffaele. “I don’t know if he will use irons, but X Forged produces a little more spin, which could help him with high, soft shots coming into these greens.”