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?