2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Under Control
Harry How/Getty Images for The Match
It goes right down the middle of the fairway.
That’s a good omen for a player who currently ranks 182nd in driving accuracy this season. It’s no secret that Mickelson has struggled with his control in recent years, which is one of the reasons why he spent the past month tinkering with a few different drivers, eventually coming to a final conclusion: He likes all of ‘em. And so, never one to bow to conventional norms, Phil is carrying three drivers this week, along with six wedges.
Asked on Tuesday about his strategy, he explained that he doesn’t need a 6-iron or an 8-iron on this golf course, that he hasn’t hit either of those clubs here in nearly a decade. That seems like hyperbole — and it is; some Internet sleuths quickly dug up video of a few shots struck with those clubs over the last couple of Masters — but his explanation actually makes some sense.
“Having three drivers really frees me up to hit a cut, a draw or just hammer one down the middle,” he says. “Meanwhile, I can fill those iron gaps by hitting a hard 9-iron or soft 7, and a hard 7-iron or a soft 5. That’s why I don’t need those other two clubs.”
This one must’ve been his “hammer one down the middle” driver, because he easily smashes it more than 300 yards, never veering from its intended target.
You’re just impressed you could follow the ball flight. The gallery for this final pairing is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
You start making your way down the fairway — about 10 yards outside the ropes — but in this sea of humanity, it’s less like walking and more like crowd-surfing. At 76 degrees and with that slight breeze blowing, the weather is enough to keep this from being unbearable. Augusta National doesn’t oversell tickets like some other tournaments, but even so, you find yourself packed in like sardine as you try to watch Mickelson’s approach into the first green.
He hoists it way into the sky — must be one of those six wedges — but you lose it on the way down. The only way you know the result is from the man standing a few rows of bodies in front of you.