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‘New weapon’ in Phil’s armoury

Abu Dhabi: Phil Mickelson is ready to unleash “a whole different weapon” in his arsenal, when he launches his 2014 campaign at the $2.7 million HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship on Thursday.

The world No. 5 finally got a monkey off his back last year by winning the British Open, golf's oldest major, for the first time at the 20th attempt.

Mickelson said he would have a new driver in his bag when he accompanies seventh-ranked Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jamie Donaldson of the Wales in the first round in Abu Dhabi, the first event of the European Tour’s three-week Middle East swing.

“As I look back on 2013, I played some of my best golf and had some huge breakthroughs but I did most of it without a driver,” the American left-hander told reporters on Tuesday.

“This year, I have the best driver I’ve ever hit that lowers my spin rate just like my three-wood. I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my three-wood.

“It’s a whole different weapon in my arsenal now and if I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and in the off-season, heading into this 2014 season it could be the best year of my career.”

“I’m excited to be back, it’s a great city and country,” said Mickelson. (Reuters)