After considerable practice and a lot of experimentation, I have determined that Phil Mickelson can do things I can’t.

He can hit flop shots that tickle the pin. He can hit sand shots that bounce delicately and roll in the hole (as he did in a pressure-packed final round on the way to the PGA Championship trophy). He can drive the ball rather smartly for a 50-year-old. He can hammer in long putts now and then.

All things I can’t do.

But what I really want from Phil Mickelson is his sunglasses.

Of the many things that golfers can’t agree on – type of ball, style of putter, best place for lunch after a round, the concept of sunglasses is right up there. Some never wear them while playing, not wanting any artificial device between their eyes and what they see down the fairway. Although sun obviously can be a problem on the course, they don’t want the aggravation of sunglasses shifting or moving around during swings. Others have sunglasses with earpieces that hug the temples so that they can wear them on some shots and then turn them onto the back of the head for shots on which they aren’t needed. It’s unusual for a professional golfer to wear sunglasses over their eyes from first tee shot through final putt.

Mickelson not only is wearing shades full-time these days, he also is absolutely rocking them. The style – black with mirrored lenses – seems to fit him perfectly. As he has pointed out, somewhat in jest, it’s not every 50-year-old professional golfer who can rock sunglasses.

Mickelson hasn’t revealed much about his new eyewear. Asked about the decision to shade, he said he introduced the glasses to protect the area around his eyes after he applied cream to fight sunspots. He said he was surprised he could play well wearing them, so he has continued to do so.

After Mickelson’s four-round magical mystery tour at Kiawah Island over the weekend, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t sleep wearing them. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t wear them in pouring rain. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t own a box of them. I’m already surprised that he doesn’t appear to have a sunglass sponsorship. 

I’m one of those people who can’t play golf well wearing sunglasses. Sheepishly, I also should point out that I’m one of those people who can’t play golf well NOT wearing sunglasses.

But Mickelson’s run at the Ocean Course has opened new vistas for me. I’ll be cruising sunglass shops over the next few days looking for the Mickelson model. 

The only issue here is that I tend to lose sunglasses easily. I leave them on airplanes. I leave them in restrooms. I leave them on restaurant tables. I leave them, period.

Bottom line is I won’t be able to afford the pricey model Mickelson sports, even if I can find it. I’ll go with the $12.99 special. Polarized, please.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.