PGA Championship: Phil Mickelson flip-flops his way to 1-over 71 at Oak Hill

Andrew Redington

The reigning British Open champ and flip-flop enthusiast finished with an ugly double bogey to drop out of the red on Thursday.

Phil Mickelson, attired in clingy golf shirts and those hideous reverse-Yankees pin-striped trousers, will never be mistaken for a trend-setting style maven. His choice of off-hours footwear does nothing to dispel the notion that Lefty’s a living, breathing, five-time major champion-winning fashion-don’t.

The world No. 2 has attracted a great deal of attention (some 57,000 hits come up when you Google "Phil Mickelson, flip flops") after leaving the house a couple times since winning the British Open wearing what in technical circles are known as "flip-flops."

While his slip-ons may be slimming and easy to step into, that’s about where the benefits end for Phil’s flimsy foam and plastic sandal-like garb.

In fact, if Lefty were privy to some of the medical findings (there’s actual research on this) about those flexible, slap-slap-slap hoof paddles that Gawker’s Brian Moylan argues are only slightly more acceptable than the "holey plastic abomination known as Crocs," he might rethink how he treats his dogs.

It’s not just the crud the soles of his feet pick up from the grit and grime of traversing the parking lot at Callaway HQ or sprinting up the steps of the clubhouse at Oak Hill.

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Nor is what Slate’s Dana Stevens terms the "half-dressed slatternliness" of "foot underwear" the problem, though she argues about why they have no place in civilized society -- except to take the kids for ice cream while vacationing at the beach (as President Obama famously did in 2011), dump the trash, shuffle around the locker room after a post-golf shower, or because you can’t afford real shoes -- for the "rubber-soled scourge."

If he can’t be shamed into covering up his flippers, perhaps Phil would like to know that, in addition to the obvious hazards of stubbed toes, stepping on sharp objects or slipping on wet sidewalks, he may be doing serious damage to his body -- from the bottoms of his feet to his sacroiliac. John Whyte, chief medical expert for the Discovery Channel, even warns that flip-floppers risk severe, long-term injuries to their bones, tendons, and joints.

If such warnings are not sufficient, however, maybe Amy can convince the southpaw to doff his thongs because, well, they’re just plain gross.

Mickelson, wearing PGA Tour-regulation Callaway waders, began his pursuit of back-to-back major championship titles on Thursday with a sloppy 2-over 37 on his front nine.

The reigning British Open winner, who nearly missed the deadline for registering for the PGA, got it going on the back nine with three birdies. Then, after an errant tee shot on 18 found the deep rough, he reverted from the cautious Open Championship victor to his go-for-broke gambling self and inexplicably attempted to blast his approach shot through a wall of trees.

A double-bogey six at the last gave Phil the Thrill a Tiger Woods-matching 18-hole tally of 1-over 71, which has him six shots back of first-round co-leaders Jim Furyk and Adam Scott.

More golf from SB Nation:

• Phil almost forgets to register, avoids DQ | Needs directions to 1st tee

• Leaderboard updates and live coverage of Friday's round

• Phil hits balls in the dark | Rory takes a step forward

• Miguel Angel Jimenez takes driver out of rough, hits worst punch ever

• Tiger Woods and an impossible standard

• GIFS Tom Watson needs a new shirt | Kaymer sinks it from 150 yards out

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