Self-awareness has not been Phil Mickelson’s strong suit of late, but The Forecaddie had to chuckle at Lefty’s repeated references to having a big advantage when he doesn’t have to hit driver.
Even though Mickelson’s driving has been better in 2018 — it couldn’t get much worse — do not expect Mickelson to carry the big stick at Carnoustie.
“I’m either going to carry a driver or that hot 3-wood, but there’s only two or three holes — there’s actually only two holes I plan on using it, both par 5s,” he told The Man Out Front after his Carnoustie scouting trip.
Mickelson’s plans to lean heavily on “a low 1-iron” he used at the Scottish Open to take advantage of links conditions.
“I would say that when it’s windy, it really is an advantage for me because drivers are not necessary,” he said in one of many references to the confidence he gets from relying on his knock-down stingers.
Don’t be daft, as the Scots would say. Mickelson still has plenty of confidence in his driver, he’s just more confident in his ability to hit shots.
“I can hit long irons, and I can get the long irons on the ground as quick or quicker than anybody,” he said.
TMOF is telling you this for one very basic reason: Carnoustie will be the firmest, fastest links the players have seen since 2013 when Mickelson won at Muirfield. Mickelson was practically licking his chops after seeing the course.
“I was really excited with my time there because I think I got to see Carnoustie for its greatness, and it’s firm and fast, and the bunkers were in play and very hard to avoid,” he said. “The first time I ever played it was ’99, and it was a rough week. The course wasn’t setup its best, and this week it is. I think it will be one of the best Opens.” Gwk