Mickelson Dismisses Driving Accuracy - "What I'm Looking At Is Distance"

Mickelson is one of the star names this week as the PGA Tour Champions Playoffs begin...

Phil Mickelson looks on after hitting a drive
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mickelson is one of the star names this week as the PGA Tour Champions Playoffs begin...

Take a look at this week’s PGA Tour Champions’ first playoff event in Richmond, Virginia the Dominion Energy Charity Classic and you’ll see a lot of sights which we’ve been accustomed to for so many years with these icons.

Take Vijay Singh for example. The seemingly ageless Fijian is still pounding balls on the range at dawn a good two and a half hours before his tee time., as he did Thursday morning. Singh’s caddie left the range eventually for the practice green across the street as Singh insisted on hitting a few more before he was ready.

The 58-year-old remains a fascinating player to watch practice as he stood a divot filler a mere two feet in front of his club at address to force a fade.

John Daly is still seemingly popular as ever, signing and taking pictures with dozens of fans in his cart right before he played in his Thursday pro-am.

The amicable American has always had an affinity for Diet Coke, and he had one in the cart’s cupholder (a large cup from McDonald’s).

An all-American through and through.

The 2017 champion of this event and current leader in the Charles Schawb Cup standings Bernhard Langer still looks as fit as ever.

The 64-year-old 42-time European Tour winner knows that he can’t get distracted with other player’s impressive styles, so he’s focused on doing his own thing.

“I've got to play my own game. I drive the ball a maximum of 280 yards and I've got to live with that and then plav from there on in,” Langer said.

A funny anecdote came on Thursday during Mickelson’s presser as Langer’s caddie Terry Holt stopped for a few minutes, bag over his shoulder, to hear Lefty talk. Holt smiled as he took in what’s still a fresh voice on this Tour. 

Speaking of Mickelson, he enters this week as the defending champion.

He’s trying this week to be the first player in PGA Tour Champions history to win four of his first five starts on the over-50 Tour. 

Asked if his ranking of 81st in driving accuracy in his last over-50 win two weeks ago in Jacksonville could work here, Mickelson was pretty blunt:

“So, I look at longest, like I try to hit it the farthest out here and I was No. 1 in driving distance. That's the way I look at it," Lefty said.

"If you want to look at stuff that's irrelevant, have at it.

"What I'm looking at is distance, I want to hit it-I want to fly it 305-because I'm a really good wedge player, so if I get wedges in my hand, I'm going to be tough to beat.”

Phil throwing accuracy out the window, that’s why we love him.


Garrett Johnston is a reporter and presenter based in Washington, DC. He’s covered 30 major championships on site and you can follow him on Twitter @JohnstonGarrett. He also hosts the Beyond the Clubhouse podcast with players, caddies & tv personalities which you can listen to here.

Garrett Johnston

Garrett Johnston is a golf reporter and presenter who’s covered pro golf for 12 years including over 30 majors. His goal each year is always to “grow with the rookies” on Tour. The idea is to get to know the superstars before they become household names. Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, and Patrick Reed are just some of the players Johnston has covered from their early pro careers for their hometown newspapers. Johnston’s favorite event is always The Open, and he credits his unforgettable experience covering the 2015 Open at St. Andrews where he got to interview Tom Watson (in his final Open) and winner Zach Johnson exclusively throughout the week as his favorite event so far. Johnston has also developed a strong rapport with Tour caddies and regularly contributes to Caddie Network and Golf.com. He also has his own podcast: Beyond The Clubhouse