Phil Mickelson added a TaylorMade SLDR driver to his bag for Day 2 of the Presidents Cup, where he and U.S. Team partner Keegan Bradley defeated the International Team’s Jason Day and Graham DeLaet in foresomes 4 and 3.
The SLDR has a (poorly) painted matte black crown to hide the SLDR’s metallic gray crown and light gray graphics, and marks Mickelson’s second attempted to conceal his usage of a TaylorMade metal wood.
Harry Arnett, senior vice president of marketing for Callaway, confirmed on Twitter that the driver was not a Callaway model.
@danwmeyer not our driver ths wk. Our low/forward cg Tour driver isn’t ready yet so gave green light to play whatever he wanted until then
— Harry Arnett (@HarryArnettCG) October 4, 2013
Arnett’s tweet indicates that Callaway has an even lower spinning driver coming out in 2014, which is similar to a situation from last November when Mickelson used a TaylorMade RBZ 3 wood at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Championships in China.
At the time, the RBZ was also lower spinning than any comparable Callaway product, and Mickelson had the club painted matte black to hide its distinctive white-painted TaylorMade crown. As Arnett predicted, Mickelson benched the RBZ as soon as the company released its X Hot 3Deep to tour players in April. Mickelson has had the 3Deep in the bag ever since, hitting it long enough to play it as his driver for his wins at the Scottish Open and the British Open.
Still, Mickelson’s usage of a TaylorMade driver is a huge win for TaylorMade, which has lost significant market share in the driver category in 2013.
“SLDR has been hot since it hit tour in July and we are flattered he is playing it,” a TaylorMade spokesperson said.
This year, Mickelson has experimented with several Callaway drivers, including the Razr Fit Xtreme, which he praised after his win of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. At the Masters, Mickelson used a prototype “Phrankenwood,” a small-headed Callaway driver that Mickelson said offered a more penetrating ball flight and more workability than larger-sized drivers. In September, he tinkered with Callaway’s latest driver, the FT OptiForce 440, which he later ditched for his trusty 3Deep.
Mickelson also added a new 17-degree Ping Anser hybrid to his bag in 2013, which comes stock with a matte black-painted crown. Like the hybrid, Mickelson’s SLDR driver has a Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver shaft.