Phil Mickelson Fell Flat On His Face Thursday With A 1st Round 78

Warren Little. Getty Images.

Brutal. Really, really tough to watch.

Phil Mickelson was always going to be under a microscope this week. When you're a 6-time major champion and take a 4-month layoff only to come back to join a rebel golf tour, that'll happen.

Maybe it's rust, maybe it's the pressure, maybe it's simply the fact that he's 51 years old playing golf's most grueling tournament. But even that doesn't explain how a guy who has played the game of golf so well for so many years could putt so poorly. He came out of the gate with 14 putts in his first 6 holes, including a 4-putt from 12 FEET. The performance had him 145th out of 156 on the greens today. Guess what place he's in? That's right, T-145. And as I write this, there's only 6 players below him on the leaderboard. 6 guys Phil Mickelson has probably never heard of.

Does Phil care? Eh… probably a little. This is the one that always got away from Phil. He's wanted this major for so many years, but that ship sailed long long ago. The PGA Championship was magical. It was also lightning in a bottle. For months before and months after, Phil never sniffed contention of any tournament he played in. Phil was never gonna turn around and suddenly win a tournament that eluded him so many times when he was at his best. But he'll be okay. He's got his $200 milly waiting for him after his early flight out on Friday. That's just life for Phil now. 

If there's one W for Phil (besides the dough) today, it's that the fans were very receptive. The thumbs up will do that. Doesn't change the fact that it's gonna be a short week for ol Phil.