Another scorcher at Royal Birkdale and there were some seriously hot groups out in Tuesday’s practice rounds.

Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm easily drew the biggest crowd on the Southport links.

And where do we start with Phil?

We’re expecting him to ditch the driver this week in favour of the Callaway 13˚ X Hot 3-wood that he won the 2013 Open with at Muirfield.

The five-time major champion was also seen swinging the new Callaway Epic and Epic Pro irons.

Phil Mickelson Epic irons

It could be the regular Epic 3-iron along with the Epic Pro 4 and 5-iron in the American’s bag this week

Now these irons have caused a bit of a stir because they are quite expensive.

One thing is for sure, Phil can afford them. It will be really interesting to see if he uses the £1,700 irons when the tournament gets underway on Thursday.

As it approached midday the mercury must have been getting up towards 30 degrees and as the crowds smothered themselves in sun cream, Phil was wearing a body-warmer.

Phil Mickelson Epic irons

We know the Californian native is a bit nesh (that’s a word we used up north when someone feels the cold a bit easily) but how he wasn’t sweating his proverbials off I just don’t know.

And finally, let’s all enjoy this video of ‘Phil being Phil’. After missing the green to the left of the 13th he pulled out this outrageous flop shot.

That’s a 64 degree wedge probably playing more like 80. And of course he made the putt.

Sergio goes low with new 3-iron

Sergio Garcia is a supreme ball-striker which makes him better than most when it comes to links golf.

Playing with Rafa Cabrera Bello, Pablo Larrazabal and Bernd Wiesberger, the Spaniard showed them how it’s done on the par-4 9th.

As his playing partners hit drivers and 3-woods, Garcia pulled out a TaylorMade M2 3-iron and hit a delightful low stinger into the wind which took the perfect line on the dog-leg left to right hole.

It’s a similar model to which Jason Day used at the US Open with a longer shaft and just 18˚ of loft. It’s unclear whether or not it will make it into Sergio bag for the tournament. But after the way we saw him hit it, it should do.

Sergio Garcia M2 irons

So Mickelson AND Garcia have new gear in play this week. Maybe more people should be taking note?

Brooks is really excited and loves everything

Brooks Kopeka is really excited about this week. He told us in his press conference how excited he is. He loves links golf. He told us.

But I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone be less excited about anything. Come on Brooks give us a smile, you’ve just won a major, it’s The Open, be happy please for goodness sake.

I asked Koepka, who has had four weeks off after winning the US Open, if he was putting any new gear in the bag for this week but will be sticking with the same bag that got the job done at Erin Hills.

And that includes the Nike Vapor Fly Pro 3-iron which he says he fell in love with the first time he hit it and it has been in his bag ever since.

He insists there is a forgiveness element to using it but claims it just has the right spin and ball flight he is looking for.

Baseball cap it like Bryson?

Our mad scientist friend Bryson DeChambeau is definitely excited to be here this week. He was the last person to qualify with his John Deere Classic victory so has had a whirlwind 48 hours.

He arrived in Birkdale at about 7pm on Monday night and went straight to a BBQ hosted by Mizuno (One of the Mizuno fitters is good friends with his Cobra fitter). I attended the same bash but arrived too late to speak with the former US Amateur Champion.

Bryson DeChambeau

Anyway, he was out on the course bright and early on Tuesday but with out his signature flat cap. So it wasn’t really a case of ‘cap it like Bryson’ it was more a case of ‘cap it like everyone else’.