Els puts trust in 5-wood

2006-04-05 17:37
Augusta - The Masters is bringing out the metal in just about everyone.

For Phil Mickelson, that means two drivers.

With an eye on Augusta National, Mickelson put two drivers in his bag during the BellSouth Classic. It worked so well, he said he would try it at the Masters this week.

"It's a big promo Callaway - the only thing better than one FT-3 is two FT-3s," Mickelson said with a laugh.

But it's not quite the same club.

One driver is an inch longer, and allows him to hit a power draw that moves from left to right. At the BellSouth Classic, he flew the green on the 13th hole, a short par, which he had never been able to do. The other driver allows him to hit a controlled fade, the shot Mickelson relied heavily on when he won the Masters two years ago.

"There are a number of holes where you can move the ball left-to-right and have it be very effective," Mickelson said. "I can hit a little controlled cut on the holes where distance isn't as big of a factor. And I can use the draw driver and get a little extra pop on some holes. It's nice having that little extra punch."

Found a unique solution

Mickelson began experimenting with a longer club during the West Coast Swing, but he could only hit the draw. He tinkered with the internal weighting of the club, and found a unique solution.

"I used the internal weighting to take the left side out of play so it draws, and I use the other driver to take the right side out of play," Mickelson said. "So now I just play with half the trouble."

With a 14-club limit, that means he'll have to take another club out of the bag.

Mickelson says the sand wedge is out of the rotation - he still has a lob wedge, gap wedge and pitching wedge. With the extra driver, he said he would take out the 3-iron or 4-iron, or perhaps the 7-iron or 8-iron, depending on the conditions.

Tiger Woods was asked if he ever carried two drivers.

"Well, one driver in two pieces, but that's about it," he said.

Ernie Els, meanwhile, is using a 5-wood for the 240-yard fourth hole. Els usually carries a 2-iron, and he was asked the last time he used a 5-wood in competition.

"I think I was in junior golf," Els said.

He has been working on a 5-wood from Titleist for the last week, realizing the extra height will come in handy.

"Ever since I played here three or four weeks ago, I could see a 5-wood would come into play quite a bit," he said.

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