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Phil Mickelson will have an old friend in the bag when he tees up alongside Italy’s Francesco Molinari and Australia’s Marc Leishman in one of the marquee groups at 3.10 this afternoon.
And the veteran American has an even longer relationship with the man on his bag for the first time at The Open.
Mickelson has confirmed that he will be using the Callaway 3-wood that was in his bag when he won the championship in his 20th attempt at Muirfield back in 2013. Incredibly, it remains the last time the 47-year-old left-hander has tasted success on either side of the Atlantic.
The American remains loyal to that trusty club but he has never been frightened of experimenting with his equipment and this week he has already said he might tee up without a driver in his bag.
The reason for that is simple.
We won't be playing in this wind," Mickelson explained after he finished his practice round in a light breeze on Tuesday. "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."
So, it is likely to be out with the driver and in with a 64-degree wedge which he will use to create his usual wide repertoire of recovery shots around the greens.
Since finishing tied-22nd at this year’s Masters, Mickelson made the cut in each of his next six starts, most recently at The Greenbrier where he finished in a share of 20th place.
That event marked the end of an era as he played without long-time bagman, Jim “Bones” Mackay, who had previously caddied for him throughout a professional career stretching back to 1992.
The pair had an amicable separation and in Mackay’s absence Mickelson will be using younger brother and manager, Tim, for the foreseeable future.
Mickelson’s partners for the first two rounds this week need little introduction.
Leishman, a 33-year-old from Victoria, has played in every Open since 2010, finishing tied-5th at Royal Liverpool in 2014 and then 12 months later made the play-off before losing out to Zach Johnson at St Andrews.
Ryder Cup player, Molinari, is one of the game’s most consistent performers. His best finish at The Open was a tie for ninth place back in 2013.