The Loop

Mickelson's cracked driver a good omen?

April 01, 2011

If you're into omens, then Phil Mickelson is destined to win the Masters next week. Why's that? Because Phil says he cracked his driver during the first round of the Shell Houston Open. And for those who have forgotten, Lefty also busted his driver last year at the Shell Houston Open and went on to win his third green jacket the following week.

Of course if form really holds, then Mickelson will get his current driver fixed before he tees it up at Augusta National. Last year Mickelson's Callaway FT Tour TA driver required the golf equipment equivalent of a transplant. Performing the surgery was Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway's senior VP of R&D. Hocknell retrieved the club Sunday night prior to Masters week and got a text message from Mickelson, who was in Augusta, Monday morning asking, "How bad is it, Doc? Is she gonna make it?"

Hocknell and his team performed, in their words, "an unprecedented repair," removing the carbon composite body from the clubface while never taking off the Mitsubishi Fubuki shaft in order to ensure the loft and lie remained untouched.

"We had never done that before so everyone was a little nervous," said Hocknell. The same weights were inserted in the same location in the new shell before it was bonded to the titanium cup face and the same skid plate added to the sole. The driver was on a plane heading to Augusta by 3:30 that afternoon and delivered to Mickelson on the eighth tee during his Tuesday practice round at Augusta National and went on to rank second in the field in distance with a 297.1-yard driving distance average while winning by three shots over Lee Westwood.

So, anyone want to bet against Phil?

--E. Michael JohnsonFollow me on Twitter @EMichaelGW