Update (June 9): Mickelson did not use the prototype hybrid in Round 1 of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
We spotted Phil Mickelson with a prototype Callaway hybrid in the bag at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. How do we know it’s a prototype? Well, that’s what it says on the sole.
The hybrid is one of the most nondescript clubs we’ve seen on the PGA Tour from Callaway this year, at least in terms of graphics and features. The logos are old-school and so are the colors: black and silver. There’s also no adjustable hosel, moveable weights, and no carbon fiber as there is in Callaway’s new Epic hybrids.
According to a Callaway representative, there’s a reason for that. The hybrid is a prototype that “played a part in helping (Callaway) develop the shape of (its) current Steelhead XR Hybrid.”
Maybe the most interesting feature of the club is its extremely rounded sole, which is also reminiscent of Callaway’s X Hot Pro hybrid that was released in 2012 garnered a cult-like following. Its added offset and curvaceous sole made it an incredible performer from the rough for many golfers.
Callaway told GolfWRX in 2012 was that the shape of the X Hot Pro was inspired by a hybrid Mickelson helped design for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black to combat the deep rough. Based on the graphics on this hybrid, it appears this is that hybrid.
The loft (22 degrees) is also significantly higher than the loft Mickelson generally uses in a hybrid (he’s often in the 17-19 degree range).
In other Mickelson news, the golfer announced earlier this week that he plans to skip the U.S. Open to attend his daughter’s high school graduation, where his daughter, the class president, is scheduled to speak. Golf fans have reacted with a petition to have the high school move its graduation day so Mickelson can play in the only major championship he’s yet to win.