Unexpected gear swap helps Mickelson find answers off the tee

Phil Mickelson Quail Hollow Mini Driver

Phil Mickelson made a very interesting gear swap at the top end of his bag before shooting a stellar opening round 64 at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Erratic tee shots are part and parcel of watching Lefty and the stats certainly back that up. For the 2021 season he ranks 194th on the PGA Tour for Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 205th in driving accuracy.

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At Quail Hollow, however, he seems to have found the answer in the form an intriguing club.

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When asked about this new weapon, Mickelson commented: “It's just kind of a mini driver head that I use as a strong 3-wood, and out here, because the fairways are so firm, if I hit it low enough, I'm able to get a lot of chase out of it and I don't feel like I'm sacrificing any distance.”

He isn’t wrong. The 50-year-old leads by two shots after finding 10 of 14 fairways and ranking seventh in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee for the opening round.

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He also ranked 36th in the driving distance stats, averaging 300 yards of the tee.

Mickelson continued, “So that allows me to kind of keep my misses a lot tighter. Today I hit it very successful, I hit a lot of good shots with it.

"My misses that I did miss weren't as far offline and I was able to salvage pars. But that club has allowed me to kind of get it in play and then let my irons take over. My irons has always been the strength of my game, I just haven't been able to use them enough. But that club's working really well around here.”

The club in question is TaylorMade’s Original One Mini driver from 2019.

• REVIEW – TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver

Taylor Made Mini Driver

The five-time major champion isn’t shy when it comes to tinkering with his clubs and throughout his illustrious career he has been responsible for the creation of some weird and wonderful bits of kit.

You can check out his craziest gear changes here.

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