PINEHURST, N.C. | What does it say about the state of Phil Mickelson’s confidence that on the eve of the U.S. Open, the tournament he so wants to win, that he’s gone to claw-grip putting.
Are you buying or selling Phil at this point?
Mickelson went to the claw – he’s used it before – in the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday in Memphis and he’s sticking with at Pinehurst.
The grip, Mickelson said, allows him to make a smoother stroke on those 3- to 7-foot putts that have vexed him this year. He said he’s been too “poppy” with a traditional grip and so he’s changed.
On the surface, that’s not encouraging news to the legion of fans hoping Mickelson finally wins a U.S. Open this week at Pinehurst. But if the putts aren’t going in – and you’re not seeing them go in – something needs to change.
Johnny Miller suggested Mickelson change something last week.
“He’s absolutely right,” Mickelson said. “You can’t win any golf tournament putting the way I’ve been putting. I should have won last week by eight shots if I putted worth … decent.”
Is the claw here to stay?
“Ultimately, I’ll go back to a regular grip but for now, probably the coming weeks, that helps me get the feel and flow back,” Mickelson said. “What I should have done is practice the last few weeks with it and then gone to a regular grip this week. But here we are.”
Yes, here we are.