DUBLIN, Ohio – Although it wasn’t a stellar start, Phil Mickelson didn’t appear to be impacted by news that he was the subject of an investigation involving possible insider trading by the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission on Saturday at the Memorial Tournament.
The 42-time PGA Tour winner teed off at 10:27 a.m. (ET) at Muirfield Village and played his opening nine in even par, a loop that included a misplayed approach shot at No. 9 that found a water hazard, despite Friday’s reports that were published in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Mickelson arrived at Muirfield Village at 9:27 a.m. and met with his manager, Steve Loy with Lagardere Unlimited, for 30 minutes before heading to the practice range for an abbreviated warm up.
According to the WSJ report, authorities are “examining a series of well-timed trades” involving Mickelson, high-profile Las Vegas gambler William “Billy” Walters and investor Carl Icahn and includes two separate stocks.
Neither Mickelson, Walters nor Icahn has been accused of any wrongdoing.
“I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so,” Mickelson said in a statement released early Saturday. “I wish I could fully discuss this matter, but under the current circumstances it's just not possible.”
Mickelson also said his legal counsel has advised him to make no further statements. His attorney, Glenn Cohen, told the WSJ, “Phil is not the target of any investigation. Period,” and added that an FBI agent told him Mickelson wasn't a target.
Icahn told CNBC’s Scott Wapner that he’s never met Mickelson and that he has not been contacted by the FBI or served any subpoenas.
“We don't know of any investigation. We’re proud of our 50-year unblemished record. I have never given out inside information,” Icahn said.
When contacted by the WSJ Walters also declined to comment.
Authorities met with Mickelson after Thursday’ opening round at Muirfield Village seeking to speak with him about the investigation. According to the reports, Mickelson referred the agents to his attorney.
On Saturday at Muirfield Village, Mickelson was greeted with warm applause on the first tee and a predictably large gallery that normally follows one of the game’s most popular players.
Mickelson is scheduled to play next week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis followed by the U.S. Open, where he will be seeking to complete the career Grand Slam with a victory.