Mickelson has failed to win a U.S. Open because of his driver woes.
(KSDK Sports) -- At 43-years-old, Phil Mickelson envisions the 2014 PGA Tour season to possibly be his career best. The optimism comes from a single change in the bag. Once again, "Lefty" has a new driver.
Mickelson has gone on record saying he played the majority of the 2013 season without a driver. He says his driver play encourages him to use his 3-wood, with which he was better able to control ball flight direction and distance.
As fans watch the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this Thursday, they should take note of Phil's new Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver. It's no surprise that the five-time major winner is using a new club. Phil is known for constantly experimenting with his 14 club combination.
Mickelson has failed to win a U.S. Open because of his driver woes. Hitting the driver from the tee has always been an issue for Phil, a player who has hit 54.6% of his fairways since 2006. It is a flaw in his game that is apparent in most tournaments, let alone majors.
Golf fans will forever remember the 2006 U.S. Open. Mickelson lost the tournament on the 72nd hole. With a one-shot lead, all he had to do was par!
His "Bread and butter" slice off the box put him behind a tree on the left side. Mickelson hit that tree and took a third shot from the rough into the back bunker. A subpar shot out and two putts later, Mickelson finished with a double bogey and buried his face in his palms.
Michelson gave away his greatest chance of lifting the U.S. Open trophy to date. Only he could offer the perfect commentary, "I am such an idiot." This self-destructive performance will be remembered as one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of golf.
He now has the PGA record for most second place finishes in the U.S. Open with six.
Mickelson's participation in the tournament this week seems contradictory. He has announced his intentions in taking on a lighter playing schedule in hopes of better focusing on the U.S. Open.
Despite an earlier season start for Phil, he seems excited to be in the field; his first change to challenge the 2014 competition.
"To play Abu Dhabi in the early part of the year is a great opportunity," Mickelson said in a news release. "I've wanted to return since my first time there in 2011. The golf course and facilities are outstanding and the quality of the field and the good weather make it a great place to start my season."
Phil has 42 victories on the PGA tour —five majors, three Masters (2004, 2006, and 2010), the 2005 PGA Championship, and most recently his victory at Muirfield Golf Links, which made him the 2013 Open Champion.
Mickelson's 2014 PGA Tour debut will be next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.