AUGUSTA, Ga. - Imagine what would have happened if David had used to two slingshots to slay Goliath, or if William Wallace had wielded two huge swords in his battle against the English.
Or taking this debate into space, what if Luke Skywalker had fought Darth Vader with two light sabers instead of one? Chances are, all of those legendary heroes would have been the worst for it, as a second weapon in battle is much harder to handle.
Which brings us to Phil Mickelson, who this week will carry two drivers instead of one in his bag during the Masters. Mickelson's dual high-tech strategy, which involves two Callaway Fusion FT-3 drivers — one that draws the ball and another that fades it — is believed to be a first. According to "Lefty", he needs such a unique approach in order to combat Augusta National’s added length, now at 7,445 yards.
“The only thing better than an FT-3 is two FT-3s,’’ Mickelson joked on Tuesday — or at least most of the media covering his news conference thought he was kidding.
“I can hit a little controlled cut (fade) on the holes where distance isn’t as big of a factor, like No. 7 (or) No. 10. (Or) I can use that draw driver and get a little extra pop on some holes like No. 8 and No. 15, where I can go for those par 5s in two. It’s nice having that little extra punch.’’
Say what you want about Mickelson’s latest magical mystery tour, but who can argue with the results? The only other time he’s attempted the two-driver ploy — last week in Atlanta at the BellSouth Classic — he won by 13 shots (third-largest margin in PGA Tour history) and came within one stroke (28-under par) of equaling the Tour record for 72 holes.
Always the thinker, Mickelson said he came up with the idea for the two-headed monster in the offseason, when he was working “to get this longer driver in play.’’
“We got it dialed to where I could hit just a very long draw,’’ he said. “But all of the little finesse shots, like carving it around the trees on (No.) 13 and so forth, the club wasn’t designed for that, and just wasn’t doing it.
“So I used the internal weighting of the driver to take the left side out of play, and I use the other driver’s internal weighting to take the right side out of play. Now, I just play with half the trouble.’’
Sounds reasonable. Really, it shouldn’t be much of a problem as long as his caddie, Jim “Bones’’ Mackay, hands his boss the right war club. Not necessarily an easy task, one might think, since both have the same Callaway head cover and Mickelson plans to use each “about 50-50.’’
Alas, "Lefty" has thought of everything.
“I haven’t named them yet, but that’s a cute idea,’’ he said in reference to a reporter’s question about how he keeps them straight (pun intended). “I just wrote on one, ‘draw,’ and the other ‘fade,’ so I know looking at them which one is which.’’
So what do his peers think about Mickelson’s somewhat radical rationale?
Starting at the top with Tiger Woods, the defending Masters champ and heavy favorite, there seems to be across-the-board approval. Or at least no one is going on record as calling Phil a fool.
“It certainly gives him a shot of confidence, there’s no doubt about that,’’ said Woods, seemingly ignoring the original question on the drivers to get at the fact that Mickelson won big last week Said Colin Montgomerie, always the pundit: “He’s got people thinking. (But) I thought there was a three-head cover rule?’’
No, there are no rules on Mickelson’s latest, greatest idea, only that he carries 14 clubs in the bag. Mickelson has yet to decide what iron he’s giving up (“It depends on the weather”), but chances are it’s either the 3- or 4-iron.
History aside, the 2004 Masters champ seems to have a lot going for him this week in the annual romp through the azaleas and dogwoods. Just look at Mickelson’s stats from last week: 309-yard average drive, 80 percent driving accuracy, and 89 percent greens in regulation. That he made 31 birdies and two eagles also was off the charts. For the record, no player has won the Masters after winning the week before since Sandy Lyle did it in 1988. Before that, Art Wall did it in ’59 and Sam Snead in ’49.
Mickelson knows how to go back-to-back, as he was the last player to do it on the PGA Tour, winning the FBR Open followed by the AT&T Pebble Beach in 2005. He also took two in a row in 1996 at Tucson and then Phoenix.
But whether Mickelson's new tact proves to be a boon or a bust is still up in the air, drawing attention at times while fading from reality at others. It’s kind of like the answer to the old cliché: Are two heads really better than one?
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.