Did Phil Mickelson Withdraw from WGC Match Play due to Money Laundering Case?

For years, Phil Mickelson regularly skipped the WGC Match Play.  He was said not to like the format.  This year, the Match Play rolled out a new format.  At the end of January, Mickelson told Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis he was a fan of the new format and would be playing this year at Harding Park starting April 29.  Here’s a promotional video of Mickelson raving about the course and event.  (Here are two others.)

But on the Sunday prior to the start of the event, Phil Mickelson mysteriously withdrew, citing “personal reasons.”  That date was April 26.

Yesterday, we learned from ESPN that Mickelson transferred $2.75 million to a man who has pleaded guilty to money laundering those “proceeds.”  Now, pay attention to the date ESPN reported for the signing of the plea deal:

The three transactions constitute the money laundering charges: “At the time, defendant initiated these three transfers with the intent to promote the carrying on of an illegal gambling operation,” according to the plea agreement, which was signed May 1.

In summary: Mickelson suddenly and mysteriously withdraws from the Match Play — which he done much to promote in the lead-up — on April 26.  Five days later, the man who received the $2.75 million from Mickelson pleads guilty.

Now what do you suppose Phil Mickelson was doing while Rory and the boys were playing golf?

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14 Responses to Did Phil Mickelson Withdraw from WGC Match Play due to Money Laundering Case?

  1. Sports-realist2 says:

    I’m going to act like the golf channel does with Eldrick on this one, and pretend that all is right with the world and talk about something else…..

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      But seriously, why doesn’t ESPN do the SAME type of ‘in depth’ coverage on Eldrick? Where is the ‘speculation’ on steroids by ESPN about Eldrick….
      Right now, they are speculating on gambling….Why is gambling worse than cheating with roids? Pete Rose would like to know too…

      • lannyh says:

        No one assigned me Tiger Apologist, but his sex stuff got quite a bit of coverage…

        Writing a lil’ check for $3 million to a guy who just pleaded guilty to money laundering is kind of interesting, no?

        But, that said, did you not read what I wrote about Morning Drive. Three of them in the space of two minutes said Mickelson was cleared of charges for insider trading. That’s just an outright lie, as the Dean Foods investigation is ongoing. So it’s not like they don’t cover up for Mickelson the same way as they do Woods.

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        I have no doubt the golf channel clears ALL of their favorites of any wrong doing—-Woods and Phil….Besides those two, it’s ‘open game’….
        Had that been Dustin Johnson, they would have said, “Yeah, and Dustin also had all those drug problems ect, and now gambling” lol……
        Ofcourse I only watch the golf channel programs when I’m forced to watch as an extreme form of torture…..

      • lannyh says:

        That’s a great comparison. DJ would have been dragged through the mud; it would have been a defining moment for him. I think Patrick Reed would have gotten harsh treatment, too.

  2. joe says:

    So what cheerleader will be on the Golf Channel tomorrow morning, Notay Begay or John Cook…….who pays these 2 guys, Tiger or the Golf Channel?

  3. Riddler says:

    Been out of pocket the last few days so I had to bring this back up from a previous topic.

    Grace has two EURO Tour W’s this year which supports Jalnichols point. Easier to perform and do well on the Euro Tour. How’d he end up compared to Sneds at Hartford?

    • lannyh says:

      You might have a better point if Grace hadn’t finished T-4 at the US Open…

      Remember, it’s not really about Snedeker so much as it is the Euros. Snedeker’s record the two years prior to when jalnichols mentioned him was horrible; he had no claim to top 64. Grace has shown he can play anywhere; he’s top 64 with no controversy, if you ask me. And a guy like Lahiri is doing quite well for seeing these courses for the first time. Don’t forget Augusta where Sneds missed the cut, and I think 4 of the 6 Euros made it. (That’s from memory…)

      Good broadcast of the 1978 Brit Open from St. Andrews. ABC broadcast. The intro was great. Showed holes on the course in a much better way than they do nowadays with all the technology. (To get completely off topic…)

    • lannyh says:

      Oh, and not to hex the Euro Seven, but if form holds, they pretty consistently clobber Sneds at the Brit. But, again, Sneds is not so much the point. He could go to number one, and that would not reflect on whether Grace and Gallacher and Lahiri deserved top 64. But he makes for a fun benchmark — and I have only myself to blame for the comparison!

      • Riddler says:

        Here’s my thing…and we’re sure to disagree for eternity….but I took nichols statement to mean those Euro guys “couldn’t” “Accomplish” what Sneds has on the PGA Tour. No where did I take that to mean they couldn’t out perform him from time to time.

        By “accomplish”, I see that as Sneds having 8 PGA Tour victories. I don’t see your Euro Seven having that accomplishment, obviously now, but into the future.

      • lannyh says:

        Yes, that’s what he said, but he was complaining about them being ahead of Sneds on the OWGR list. It’d be like slamming, say, Lahiri for being in the Match Play field, when Woods is #205 “because he plays on harder PGA Tour.” And saying, will Lahiri accomplish what Woods did?

        Remember his big contention was that the Euro Tour was laughably (my word, not his…) weak, and it was a joke that such inferior golfers as the Euro Seven would be ahead of Sneds.

        I still think they are doing great over here, and the young ones are seeing the courses for the first time. jalnichols threw their names out mockingly, as if the answer would be, “Haha, those losers couldn’t tie Sned’s shoes.” (Then Sneds went 0-3 at Match Play, Grace 2-1.) I don’t think it’s crazy to say Grace (27 years old) may have a better career than Sneds. And bear in mind, jalnichols cherry-picked Snedeker, a guy who had already had a nice career. I bet there were other PGA Tour guys who were close, but would not have sounded as impressive. Maybe I’ll check that in the morning.

  4. Riddler says:

    As far as the topic at hand…I have no idea what to think about it. From what I’ve heard, pending some new revelations, there is no chance Phil is in any trouble here. Yes, it’s “interesting” that the guy he gave $3 million to, is now being charged with money laundering but at the same time, I don’t think it was a situation where Phil was like, “Take this $3 million to the laundry for me”.

    They way it came across to me is he gave the $3 mil to the guy for betting purposes and the dude thought he could turn an extra profit.

    • lannyh says:

      It depends on what is meant by “any trouble.” Legal? Probably not, although he had to have known he was illegally betting (and apparently very large sums). If he made any money and didn’t pay taxes on it, that would be another problem, but would they go after him for that?

      But image? That’s another situation entirely. KPMG can’t be happy about Phil’s increasingly shady public image. Companies want to hire an accounting or consulting firm with a straightlaced, nerdy beancounter image, not one that gambles away $3 million with illegal bookies. (Or condones illegal insider trading.)

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