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5 Burning Questions For The Year’s Third Major

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By:
Jeff Newton

Get your coffee ready, your alarm clock set and throw on a few blankets because it’s almost time to settle in for the major championship this weekend. The early wake-up call here in Carlsbad will be well worth it as we watch the world’s best take on a legendary course.

And what better way to kick off the big event than to hash out our 5 burning Callaway questions for this week? From Phil and Ernie  to the new Mack Daddy 2 Wedges and Odyssey’s dominance in major championships, we’re ready to dive in to the biggest topics.

1. Can Mickelson Capture His 1st Claret Jug and 5th Major Win?

Absolutely! And he might be the favorite heading into the week after his dramatic playoff win last weekend at the Scottish Open.

Mickelson looked as confident as ever at Castle Stuart, where he sealed the win with an incredible pitch shot with his Mack Daddy 2 Wedge that led to a tap-in birdie and his second worldwide win this year.

He’s back up to number 5 in the world, just won a few days ago, and he’s been on his game all year long. How could he not be one of the most popular picks? He’s a smart bet this week, and he likes his chances. Go got ‘em, Phil!

2. Will FT Optiforce and Mack Daddy 2 Wedges Play A Key Role?

What do you think of when you picture this championship? The short list probably has some mix of the head-high bunkers, rough so thick that players can barely see their ball sitting down, high winds and maybe some heavy rain just for good measure. Because of all this potential danger, the winner at Muirfield will have to have a great week off the tee with a driver they trust.

Cue FT Optiforce! In the two weeks since it was first introduced on Tour, it’s already been our #1 Driver at back-to-back PGA Tour events and at the Scottish Open, where there were 15 in play!

Els, Alvaro Quiros and Branden Grace were among the players who used it in Scotland, and in his first week with the driver Grace made the playoff and finished runner-up to Phil. Our Tour Reps have told us that the tight dispersion, forgiveness, strong ball flight, along with the look, sound and feel all contributed to the quick conversions.

And with all the trouble that links courses present on bunker shots and from the rough, wedge play will be at a premium into and around the greens, which is why we’re expecting big things from Mack Daddy 2. Again, it was Mickelson who trusted the wedge to hit the brilliant pitch that clinched his Scottish Open win. We’d love to see him do something like that again this weekend!

3. Can Ernie Successfully Defend His 2012 Win at Royal Lytham?

One word answer: yes. Four word answer: you better believe it. Els has been one of the hottest players in the world since he put in a new Odyssey Tank #7 Putter with Versa Technology at the U.S. Open.

In two of his starts with the putter in the bag, Ernie finished T4 at Merion and picked up his 28th career European Tour win at the BMW International Open. So what we’re saying is…he’s playing pretty well.

The Big Easy quietly put together a great tournament at Augusta and he must have found something there because it’s been one great finish after another over the past three months.

Throw in his buttery swing, hall of fame shot-making and his sky high confidence at the moment and it’s a no-brainer to put him on the short list of favorites.

While we’re here it might also be relevant to mention that he won this championship the last time it was played on this course!! On paper, you couldn’t ask for a better setup for a player to take home another major. We’ve got our eye on you, Ernie!

4. Will Odyssey Continue To Dominate The Putter Count At Majors?

The #1 Putter in Golf is 2-for-2 this year in winning the putter count at the majors. Odyssey led the count at Augusta, where Versa was the #1 new putter model and at Merion, where seven of the top-10 used Odyssey and four of those were Versa models. Now we’re looking to make it 3-for-3 on the year in major putter count wins.

We like our chances, and we’ve grown even more confident as our Tank Putters have taken over on the European Tour. Tank #7 has been the #1 putter model at recent events like the BMW PGA Championship, Nordea Masters, Irish Open and the Open de France. And with so many European Tour players in the field, Tank should add to our putter numbers at the major championship.

5. Who Are The Best Callaway Sleeper Picks This Week?

Thomas Bjorn, Thomas Bjorn and Thomas Bjorn again. Seriously, Bjorn has posted two runner-up finishes and a T4 over his last six starts. He’s on his game, has been in contention at this event before and keeps the type of even demeanor that should give him an advantage in tough conditions. Bjorn is one of the steadiest performers around and he’ll do more of the same at Muirfield.

Bonus pick: Grace. A four-time winner on the European Tour last year, Grace has quietly put together a solid 2013 campaign. He just finished runner-up to Phil in Scotland and is up to 5th place on the current Race to Dubai standings. Now that he’s got some major championship experience under his belt, Grace has the poise and the tools to win anywhere.

We’ll have more updates leading up to the first round, and you can learn more about all our Staff Pros on the Callaway Tour page.

Do you have any Callaway questions for this week? Tell us in the comments section!