Mickelson to unleash 'whole different weapon in my arsenal'

Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:41am EST
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By Tony Jimenez

(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson is ready to unleash "a whole different weapon in my arsenal" when he launches his 2014 campaign at the $2.7 million HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship on Thursday.

The world number five finally got a monkey off his back last year by winning the British Open, golf's oldest major, for the first time at the 20th attempt.

Mickelson said he would have a new driver in his bag when he accompanies seventh-ranked Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jamie Donaldson of Wales in the first round in Abu Dhabi, the first event of the European Tour's three-week Middle East swing.

"As I look back on 2013 I played some of my best golf and had some huge breakthroughs but I did most of it without a driver," the American left-hander told reporters on Tuesday.

"This year I have the best driver I've ever hit that lowers my spin rate just like my three-wood. I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my three-wood.

"It's a whole different weapon in my arsenal now and if I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and in the off-season, heading into this 2014 season it could be the best year of my career for that simple reason."

The 43-year-old Californian is making only his second appearance at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, having tied for 37th in 2011.

"I'm excited to be back, it's a great city and country," said Mickelson. "It's important we start the year with the fundamentals and a good foundation for our golf game.   Continued...

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. tees off on the 10th hole during the second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai November 1, 2013. REUTERS/Aly Song