04 Apr The Wall Street Journal – April 2018
How Phil Mickelson Can Defy Age to Win the Masters – The 47-year-old has maintained his power better than most golfers do in the twilight of their careers with a swing that limits the physical toll on his body.
By Brian Costa
With an average length off the tee of around 300 yards this season, Mickelson is driving the ball about 10 yards longer than he did in 2013, when he last won a major. He’s a longer hitter than some of the best young players in the world, including Jordan Spieth. His swing, clocked at an average speed of 116 mph, is faster than that of Rickie Fowler, another top player two decades younger.
“It’s not what the athlete looks like,” said Mickelson’s longtime trainer, Sean Cochran. “It’s how they perform—week after week, year after year.”
“The longevity of careers are different,” said Mickelson. “This is another effect that Tiger had on the game of golf as far as being aware of fitness, and more specifically golf fitness now. It has allowed me to elongate my career because of that.”
Mickelson first hired Cochran, a former strength coach for the San Diego Padres, in 2003. One reason was just to get stronger. “The other reason was to keep up with Tiger,” Cochran said. “At that time, Tiger was blowing everybody away.”
“It’s a very efficient swing,” Cochran said. “The more efficient your swing is, the less work your body has to do to execute it.”