It’s one of the best weeks of the year on the PGA Tour. Memorial Day, Jack Nicklaus, the Memorial Tournament. Great players and great rounds from Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, and even Camillo Villegas have been the stories of the week, but that was until last night, when Phil Mickelson’s name hit news outlets everywhere.
With Tiger Woods out of the game due to injury and no real star in golf, the sport has experienced some rough times this year. But Phil Mickelson is always there to cheer us up, right? Well, that certainly seemed wrong after Friday.
No it’s not the fact that Mickelson hasn’t won a tournament this year and no it’s not the fact that Mickelson isn’t peaking towards the U.S. Open. It’s off the course stuff. Just like it was off the course stuff that brought Tiger down and just like it was off the course stuff that has affected players from Sergio Garcia to Paul Casey to even Rory McIlory.
It’s a tough pill to swallow when it’s those guys, but Phil? I don’t think it can get any tougher.
Phil Mickelson is the people’s player. He is a fans dream. Hits it long, shows a lot of emotion, has a long time caddy in “Bones,” what else could the fan want?
He’s won 3 Masters and an Open Championship and even a PGA. And last year was the year he came just short of the U.S. Open. That’s his goal, that’s what he’s playing for now, but yesterday’s news definitely will work against that.
You saw Wolf of Wall Street, right? No, no, it’s not what your thinking. There has been no found strict violation of the law, yet. And that word “yet” is enough.
According to the Wall Street Journal — and it was reported by other outlets as well — Mickelson is involved in what the journal calls, “a major insider-trading probe involving finance, gambling and sports.”
Does that sound good to you? Because in reading that, I just put my head in my hands. And sure, I’m a writer, and sure I’m a journalist, but even as un-biased as we’re supposed to be, we’re human and we have favorites as well. And for me and many others, Mickelson is one of those.
But back to the problem.
The article in the journal states that the FBI and the Securities Exchange Commission are looking into the fact that Carl Icahn, a 78-year-old billionaire who runs the publicly traded Icahn Enterprises, might have given Mickelson and William Walters, a recognized Las Vegas bettor, nonpublic “insider” information on public companies.
Reports say that Icahn denies even knowing Mickelson and Mickelson’s lawyer said, “Phil is not the target of any investigation. Period.”
We can’t dismiss this though. Why would the Wall Street Journal and many major news outlets report this if there was no evidence to back it. They wouldn’t. So you have to assume something is up.
Do you buy that Icahn has never even met Phil Mickelson? No, you don’t. The good thing is, this is an investigation and in the United States of America, you’re innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately though, in my opinion, this just does not look good. In circumstances like these, you can’t dismiss anything, except maybe one thing: Phil Mickelson will not be standing alone at the top of the leaderboard when it comes Sunday at Pinehurst in the 114th U.S. Open.