Third Masters Question: Was Phil's Driver The Difference?

 We've had our fair share of fun at Phil's revolving driver philosophy...two driver, no drivers, etc... And we've heard about the role Dave Stockton has played in improving Phil's putting.

However, some of the drives he hit and the distance advantage he gained on key holes, absolutely blew me away. And the stats bore this out, yet this remains stunning, as noted in Jaime Diaz's story on Tiger's week:

At the Masters, Woods occasionally hit a few long tee shots, but for the week ranked only 20th in driving distance with an average of 283 yards, some 14 yards behind Mickelson.

That's an enormous advantage, assuming Tiger's numbers weren't tainted by a couple of bad drives.

Even though Phil consistently outdrove Tiger during last year's final round, it's not a huge stretch to believe that Phil is giving himself a major edge in this department (not to mention the ego boost he gets!).

So did Phil's ability to launch some huge drives ultimately give him an edge over Tiger and others, and validate his suggestion that the freedom to make mistakes at Augusta frees him up to be more aggressive? I've got to think so.

On another note, David Dusek shared this anecdote about an emergency repair job on Phil's driver prior to the week.

According to Callaway, the company, "performed an 'unprecedented repair,' removing the body from the clubface while never taking off the shaft in order to ensure that the loft and lie remained secure."

Hocknell said, “We decided to remove the carbon composite body from the face, and we’ve never done that before, so everyone was a bit nervous. But through a lot of teamwork, we had a new body and weights installed by 1:30 p.m. on Monday."

Meanwhile, back in Augusta, Mickelson texted Hocknell: "How bad is it, Doc? Is she gonna make it?"