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Phil Mickelson comes out swinging after FBI insider trading probe

‘I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way’ said Lefty.

Phil Mickelson responds to a question during a news conference following the third round of the Memorial golf tournament.
Phil Mickelson responds to a question during a news conference following the third round of the Memorial golf tournament.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

PHIL MICKELSON SHOT a third round 72 to leave him 10 shots off the pace at The Memorial. The American golfer is currently under investigation by the FBI over allegations of insider trading.

The probe is focused in particular on investments the men made in cleaning products maker Clorox following purported tip-offs from billionaire investor Carl Icahn. ‘Lefty’ took his place in front of the press briefing following his round of level par and only three questions of the 17 asked [below] were about golf.

Meanwhile, Bubba Watson is on -12 and leading the way after a 69. That score was matched by Rory McIlroy, who is six shots off the lead going into the final round.

Here is the transcript of Mickelson’s press conference:

Q.  How much has this investigation been weighing on you?

PHIL MICKELSON:  You know what?  I can’t really go into much right now, but as I said in my statement:  I have done absolutely nothing wrong.  And that’s why I’ve been fully cooperating with the FBI agents, and I’m happy to do so in the future, too, until this gets resolved.

But for right now‑‑ and hopefully it will be soon‑‑ but for right now I can’t really talk much about it.

Q.  It has to be unsettling, though, to have FBI officials approaching you at a tournament when you’re two weeks from a huge tournament?

PM:  I really can’t say‑‑ I don’t want to say anything more than that.  But I’ve got no problem cooperating.  I’ve been cooperating and I’ve done nothing wrong.  And so hopefully in the future or hopefully shortly we’ll be able to discuss this further, but for right now…

Q.  Can you say anything?  Has it been a distraction?

PM:  Not until Thursday.

Q.  So how close are you and Billy Walters, and did you know where he got the stock advice that he gave you?

PM:  So I’m really not going to say anything more until future ‑‑ sometime in the near future.  I hope.  I hope it’s soon. But right now, as this is going on, I’ll cooperate as much as I can.  I’ll cooperate fully with the FBI, but I’m not going to say any more.

Q.  Did you invest in Clorox at his advice and did you invest in Dean Foods at his advice?

PM:  You should know; you wrote the article.

Q.  Where did you see the agents?  How much has the situation affected your golf?

PM:  It hasn’t until Thursday.

Q.  Where did you see them on Thursday, in the clubhouse?

PM:  After the round they followed me just like the article said.  It was accurate.

MODERATOR:  We’ve got to move on.

Q.  I’m sorry, but we’ve got to keep going.  When was the first time the FBI approached you about this investigation?

PM:  I really don’t want to add anything to that.

Memorial Golf Mickelson listens to a question during his news conference. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Q.  There was an indication that last year at Teterbooro Airport was the first time.  We’re just trying to confirm if that’s correct or not. 

MODERATOR:  He’s requested golf only now.  He’s not going to comment.  So move on or this will be over.

PM:  I’m not going to talk much more about it.  But I’ve been cooperating in every way I can.

Q.  Except for in this case. 

PM:  Well, not with you, but with… (Laughter from press corp)… but with the people that are doing the investigating, yeah.

Q.  Aside from the distraction Thursday, do you think you can put it past you leading into the U.S. Open?

PM:  Yes.  I do.  I think that as a player you have to be able to block out whatever is going on off the golf course and be able to focus on the golf course. And it’s not going to change the way I carry myself.  Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong.  I’m not going to walk around any other way.

Q.  How would you describe today’s round?

PM:  Interesting. (More laughter).

Q.  Can you explain that?

PM:  Most of my rounds are, but just for other reasons.

Q.  Did you think about not playing today?

PM:  No, of course not.

Q.  Are you any better with where your game’s at right now?  Obviously coming in it was your big thing to get on track a little bit more. 

PM:  The big thing for me is that this week the fairways are playing tighter than they have because they’re firm and the ball’s running, and I’ve hit a lot of fairways.  I hit like 11 fairways.  I’m actually counting out there because it’s going to be a big factor for the Open.  I believe I’ve averaged 10 or 11 fairways a day.  That’s a big step for me because I’ve been hitting drivers a lot.

Q.  Will your schedule change at all now?

PM:  No, not at all.

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Patrick McCarry

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