DUBLIN, OHIO | When Phil Mickelson turned the corner into the interview room at Muirfield Village Golf Club today after his third round and saw the tiny room crowded with reporters and cameras, he smiled and said, “Awesome.”
Mickelson knew what was coming.
News broke late Friday that Mickelson was part of an FBI and SEC investigation related to possible insider stock trading involving sports gambler Billy Walters and investment tycoon Carl Icahn. Mickelson had issued a statement early today that read, in part, “I have done absolutely nothing wrong” and he reiterated the point this afternoon.
“I can’t really go into much right now but, as I said in my statement, I have done absolutely nothing wrong,” Mickelson said. “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.”
Mickelson said he hopes the matter will be resolved shortly and indicated he wants to say more but will not at the moment.
“I’ve got no problem cooperating,” he said. “I’ve been cooperating and I’ve done nothing wrong. So, hopefully in the future or hopefully shortly we’ll be able to discuss it further, but for right now … ”
Mickelson was approached by FBI agents after he completed his first round on Thursday. He said the agents followed him when he finished play. According to reports, Mickelson told them to contact his lawyer, Glen Cohen. On Friday, Cohen said Mickelson is not the target of an investigation.
During his short session with the media today, Mickelson was peppered with several questions related to the matter and continually said he didn’t want to comment further at this time. He did not appear defensive during the question and answer session with the media.
Asked if the issue had been a distraction to his tournament preparation, Mickelson said, “It hasn’t until Thursday.”
Mickelson said he did not consider withdrawing from the Memorial after the news broke and he intends to play in Memphis next week and at the U.S. Open in two weeks.
“I think as a player you have to be able to block out whatever is going on off the golf course and be to focus on the golf course,” he said. “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.”