Phil Mickelson is doubling his pleasure off the tee at the BellSouth Classic. That's because Lefty is carrying not one, but a pair of Callaway Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 drivers in his bag at the TPC of Sugarloaf.
Mickelson's decision to try two drivers (and ditch his 52-degree gap wedge) was done in an effort to work the ball both left and right without altering his swing. Although comfortable hitting his "baby cut" with his gamer, Mickelson had to change his move to hit a sweeping draw. The second driver is one-inch longer with a lower center of gravity. Along with moving some weight to make it more draw-friendly, the club provides Mickelson the desired shot with his normal swing. Both drivers have 9.5 degrees of loft.
"Since the day Phil joined Callaway, he has been intrigued by what the Fusion technology could do for him," said Nick Rafaelle, head of tour operations for Callaway. "The ability to move the [center of gravity] vertically as well as from heel-to-toe is one of those things."
Although "one of those things," this likely is not a one-time deal. According to Rafaelle, Mickelson opted for the double-driver setup with The Masters and Augusta National in mind.
"If you look at that golf course there are spots where Phil needs to work the ball both ways," Rafaelle said. "Take 9, 10 and 11, for example. He would hit his gamer on the first two because that's a perfect fade shot for a left-hander. But on 11 now, he really needs to hit a long draw. This gives him that shot."
Although other players have carried two drivers in tournaments, Mickleson is the highest-profile player to try it in recent memory. And one certainly can't argue with the results. Through two rounds at the BellSouth, Lefty was averaging 305 yards off the tee and finding the fairway 75 percent of the time (compared to his season's average of 57.5 percent, ranked 118th on tour).
Although carrying two drivers is certain to raise eyebrows, it's not surprising that it was Mickelson who made the move. The two-time major winner is perhaps one of the most astute players on tour when it comes to set make-up, matching the clubs in his bag to fit the course he's playing. On several occasions over the past few years he has, at various times, left out his 3-, 4- or 5-iron in favor of an extra wedge, hybrid or fairway wood. Also at last year's BellSouth, the savvy of equipment rules paid off in a playoff when he took out his sand wedge and added a 3-iron -- a club he used once to knock the ball on the green on the par-5 18th during the overtime.
E. Michael Johnson is the equipment editor for Golf World magazine.