Phil's "Phrakenwood" sounds like it's in semi-retirement..

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Scott Rushing
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Phil's "Phrakenwood" sounds like it's in semi-retirement..

Last February, Phil Mickelson won the Waste Management Phoenix Open, finishing 28 under par and driving the ball beautifully. Phil being Phil, something had to change.

Mickelson had been toying with a Callaway X Hot 3Deep 3-wood, which launched with less spin than his driver and was only about 10 yards shorter. So Phil contacted Callaway, and, as he later described it, asked the engineers to take that club and "put it on steroids."

It took two months to dial in, but Phrankenwood came alive Masters week. With 8.5 degrees of loft and a 45-inch shaft, the finished product looked like a beefed up 3-wood or an old-school driver. But it didn't perform like either: Mickelson produced a flatter ball flight with less spin -- and more yardage. Equally important, he was minimizing his killer miss, the big block. Though he finished 54th at Augusta, he was third in total driving.

In the weeks after, however, Mickelson struggled to control his creation. The misses returned. By the U.S. Open, Phrankenwood was out, replaced by the 12.2-degree X Hot 3Deep 3-wood that had served as a template all along. This club was around for most of the rest of the year, which included Phil's Scottish double-dip wins in July.

"I don't think you'll see [that version of] Phrankenwood again," says Nick Raffaele, who heads Callaway's Tour department. "If I had to guess, it's back on the operating table with the electrodes hooked in. But the worst thing you can do is quote what Phil's doing right now, because the only thing I can tell you is that it's going to change."

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