Altvater: Mickelson brings ‘thrill’ factor to Memorial TournamentWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
With Tiger Woods at home nursing his ailing back, the job of bringing the star power to a PGA Tour event falls on the broad shoulders of Phil Mickelson.
Yes, there are supporting men like Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, but Phil is the guy people pay the big bucks to come and see.
Golf media needs to fill copy space and Phil is always good for a paragraph or two or three.
Mickelson is known for his exciting escape shots on the course and superb touch around the greens to scratch out a par or make a miraculous birdie, but he is going to need all of his skills to avoid making a triple-bogey from his latest predicament.
He became the focus of a media frenzy on Saturday at the Memorial Tournament.
It was disclosed on Friday evening in the Wall Street Journal, Mickelson was named in an insider-trading investigation headed by the FBI and the SEC.
When the G-Men with the alphabet soup initials start looking into your life and business dealings, it is best to have a very expensive attorney rather than a guy named “Bones” carrying your bag.
There are some things even a 64 degree wedge can’t extricate you from.
It is said that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but I think Mickelson would disagree with you right now.
After he signed his scorecard following his third-round even-par 72, he addressed the assembled media, but declined to comment on the allegations or the implications of the investigation.
Asked how much the investigation had been weighing on him, Mickelson replied:
“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.”
He was alerted of the pending investigation on May 29, following his first round at Muirfield Village in the Memorial Tournament.
Mickelson is still looking for his first Top 10 finish of the year, with the U.S. Open looming just two weeks away. He has posted rounds of 72-70-72 and is at two-under-par for the Memorial after 54 holes.
Mickelson has six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, but it remains the only major championship that he has not won in his stellar career.
The U.S. Open will be held at Pinehurst, June 12-15. Mickelson is now 43 years old and finished runner-up to Payne Stewart in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
It will take all of his concentration and focus to perform well on the golf course with the feds investigating his dirty laundry.
Mickelson was the biggest name in the field this week at the Memorial and he is certainly living up to his nickname.
Stay tuned you never know what will happen next with “Phil the Thrill.”
Fred Altvater offers golf tips and videos at www.toledoohiogolflessons.com. Email him at BackNine@toledofree press.com or follow him on Twitter @tolohgolfr. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.