Desert Classic: Phil Goes All In On Launch Angle Golf And It Almost Works

If you saw any of Phil Mickelson’s driver swings during the Desert Classic you know he wasn’t holding back in a blatant effort to have the shortest club possible into PGA West’s greens.

The approach is an offshoot of the early 2000’s Bomb and Gouge only players are now able to carry the ball even farther off the tee thanks to optimization. Enter, launch angle golf, which I wrote about for Golfweek as the future way approach for young players at most courses. And, one 48-year-old.

Mickelson was blunt prior to the final round about this intentions:

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what to say, I played okay and my goal or game plan of playing the Stadium Course is to actually hit drivers and to try to bomb it down there as close to the greens as you can. Even though the -- because the fairways are tight in a lot of areas and if I miss fairways, try to have wedges or short irons in -- and it seemed to play out okay today and I gave myself a lot of good chances. I missed a few short putts that I've been making historically now for awhile and I let a few slide, but I also made a couple of long ones that were nice little bonuses.

And this…

Q. Not the best but managed your golf around this place, that's what it it's all about, just management.

PHIL MICKELSON: I think it is. I think that there's some holes -- I think it's a course that you can play aggressive. I think it's a course you can hit drivers. Even though the fairways can be tight up where driver is, if you hit it long enough and you have short irons into some of these holes it's an advantage. And that's kind of the way I've been trying to play this week is rip at the driver and get some short irons in and I've been able to make a lot of birdie doing that.

After the final round, lamented his putting, as reported by Sean Martin for

He lost 3.2 strokes on the greens Sunday. He missed a 4-foot putt to three-putt the first hole and also missed two putts from 5-7 feet.

“I had a terrible putting day, one of the worst I can recall in a while,” he said. “It started right on the first hole. … I felt awful with the putter. I hit a lot of good shots today, though, but just couldn’t get the ball to go in the hole.”

Ultimately this is why Mickelson is wisely skipping Torrey Pines this week, where the high rough and some of his recent numbers suggest it’s best he stay away, notes The Forecaddie.

Congrats to winner Adam Long. Whoever you are. Clutch stuff!