Mickelson to tackle Birkdale ‘driver free’

Phil Mickelson will attempt to win his sixth career major without a driver in his bag.

After playing two practice rounds at Royal Birkdale this week, Mickelson said that he will not carry his driver at the Open, opting instead for a specially crafted 3-wood.

"We won't be playing in this wind,'' Mickelson said as he finished a practice round in a light breeze. "And when we get the normal wind, there really isn't a driver for me until we get to 15. And then that brings the bunkers into play.''

The unusual choice is not that unusual for the 47-year old, who once tackled the Masters with two drivers in his bag, and also went driver free at the 2008 US Open.

Instead, he will carry four wedges, including a 64-degree sand wedge that will come in handy for the deep pot bunkers he will encounter on a links course. Mickelson will also have two 3-irons in his bag, one of them with the loft of a two-iron that can be used instead of a driver.

Mickelson’s 3-wood is the same club he used when he won the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield.

"It's a much easier club for me to hit low,'' Mickelson said. "So even into the wind, I hit it every bit as far as I hit a driver.''