‘That was nuts’: Phil Mickelson ‘boomerangs’ driver around trees, takes lead

Phil Mickelson hits his second shot on Friday on the 13th hole at Timuquana Country Club.


Phil Mickelson sliced his tee shot on the par-5 13th at Timuquana Country Club, it fell among a patch of trees, and Billy Ray Brown, a Golf Channel on-course analyst and himself a longtime pro, wasn’t exactly optimistic. 

“That ball has come to rest in between a couple pine trees. He’s going to have a swing, but I doubt with the overhanging limbs he can get here in two,” Brown said Friday during coverage of the Champions Tour’s Furyk and Friends event. “But I think a layup for him.”

No offense to Brown, but he should have stopped after 18 words. Mickelson had a swing.

Mickelson took a full one, with his driver off the pine straw no less, wrapped his ball around three trees and dropped it 20 feet off the green. 

“Incredible? That doesn’t give it justice,” Brown said on the broadcast. “I did ask him: What kind of shot is that? He said: Bend it like Beckham.

“There you go.”

There you go. In yet another Phil being Phil moment, the six-time major champion hit himself into jail, only to slip through the bars and escape. He’d birdie the hole, grab the lead at that point and go on to shoot a six-under 66. 

“That was quite a shot,” analyst John Cook said on the broadcast as Mickelson walked off the green. “I’m still shaking my head.”

Who could blame him? On the shot, Mickelson opened his stance out to the right, took his driver fully back and hit his ball about 5 feet to the right of three trees about 5 yards in front of him. As the ball sailed past the vegetation, it began to slice and finished some 225 yards away. 

“That was nuts,” Cook said on the broadcast. 

“I didn’t see that shot, John,” Brown said. “You could see the ball almost boomerang around those trees. What a shot. … He’s aiming so far to the right.” 

Of course, this being Phil the Thrill, these shots are nearly as common to him as bombs, coffee and a left-handed swing. In fact, in just his last start on the PGA Tour, at last month’s Fortinet Championship, he pulled the trick among the forest and also made birdie. 

“John, I thought I saw everything in the game of golf, but that was the first time I’ve seen a play like that,” Brown said on the broadcast. “Wow.” 

“He likes that stuff, the pine straw, the sand and all that stuff,” Cook said.  

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.