Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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Phil Mickelson is one of the most fascinating golfers and personalities of his generation. He was interesting again on Tuesday.
During his press conference at Augusta National in preparation for The Masters, he said...
-He loved his new Callaway 3-wood so much that he had the company design a driver that is 8.5 degrees but is built and plays like his 3-wood. He said the new club, termed by some ``Frankenclub,'' hits a penetrating trajectory with lots of roll. He said he's reaching parts of the course, particularly on No. 9, that he hasn't reached in years.
-There may be a reason why five of the last 10 Masters champions have been lefthanded. He noted that No. 12, one of the hardest short par-3s in the world, allows a lefthander favorable misses. Typically, a lefthanded pro will miss long to the right and short to the left, and that dispersal is perfect for 12, while it's particularly challenging for righthanders.
-He wouldn't comment on Augusta National admitting female members, or whether other golf clubs and governing bodies should follow suit. Earlier this year, he complained about California taxes, saying he may be forced to move from his home of San Diego.
``I love the game of golf, and I love playing professional golf, and I love playing different courses and being part of different tournaments and organizations,'' he said. ``What I don't love is getting involved in the politics of it. I tried that ealrier in the year, and it didn't go so well.''
He was smiling when he said that.
-That Auigusta National has softer greens than most tour courses, and that it's in particularly good shape this year. ``The areas that have historically given them problems here are not having a problem this year,'' he said. ``They are perfect.''
As far as the Augusta greens striking fear in touring pros, Mickelson said, ``You can fire at a lot of these pins without any fear...That fear factor has not been there and I don't anticipate them going back to the way we expect. I think it's going to stay kind of soft.''
-That the 13th hole at Augusta is his favorite hole in golf, because of the risk-reward value of the second shot, and how the slope of the fairway makes the shot much more challenging than it appears.
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