Phil Mickelson has something special planned for Augusta National this year.
A special club, that is.
Mickelson shot a 71 on Friday at the Houston Open and will get in two more rounds in his final tuneup before the Masters in two weeks.
He shot a 72 on Thursday with a driver in his bag, then took it out and added a 3-wood ''that's more like a driver'' for his second round. The new 3-wood produces a lower ball flight and more run in the fairway.
So what's the plan for Augusta?
''We have a special club we're making that I'll be hitting on Monday,'' he said. ''So, we'll see.''
Mickelson, the 2011 champion, rallied with three straight birdies on the back nine Friday, fueling optimism for the weekend. Two years ago, he was five shots back after two rounds, then shot 63-65 on the weekend to win by three.
''I have a chance now when I show up,'' he said. ''I'm not searching, I'm not trying to find it. I know what it is I'm trying to do and the feelings I'm trying to create to hit certain shots. I have a chance to shoot a low round.''
Meanwhile, Brandt Snedeker left the PGA Tour with a rib injury as the hottest player in golf - runner-up to Tiger Woods and Mickelson in successive weeks, and then a winner at Pebble Beach. He goes into the Masters having missed his last two cuts.
Snedeker returned last week at Bay Hill after missing a month to heal his ribs. He missed the cut there, and Friday at the Houston Open. Needing a birdie, he went for the green on the par-5 eighth hole and found the water, leading to bogey. He finished at 1-over 145.
The good news: His ribs feel fine.
''Early in the year, everything was going right,'' Snedeker said. ''I was making key putts and hitting key shots in the round. Now I'm not making key putts and I'm hitting loose shots where you can't hit loose shots. Last week I hit it bad and putted good. This week I hit it good and putted terrible. Hopefully, that means everything will be just right at Augusta.''
Snedeker is not playing in the Texas Open. He will spend next week at Sea Island, where the greens are at about 13 to 14 on the Stimpmeter to prepare for the Masters.
He's not in top form, though Snedeker doesn't feel he is that far off.
''Looking back on it, I was playing good,'' he said. ''The things I was doing so good was minimizing my mistakes and maximizing my rounds. Right now I'm not.''