DUBLIN, Ohio — Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson confirmed that FBI agents investigating insider trading approached him this week at the Memorial Tournament. The five-time major champion said Saturday he has done “absolutely nothing wrong.”
A federal official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are analyzing trades Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters made involving Clorox at the same time activist investor Carl Icahn was attempting to take over the company. When Icahn’s intent became public, the stock price jumped.
The official was unauthorized to speak about the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Reports of the investigation appeared in several newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal.
Smiling as he stood before a room packed with reporters and cameras, Mickelson said the case had not been a distraction until FBI agents approached him after his opening round Thursday.
He said it would not affect his preparations for the U.S. Open in two weeks, the only major he lacks for the career Grand Slam.
“It’s not going to change the way I carry myself,” Mickelson said after an even-par 72 left him far behind the leaders. “Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way.”
The federal official told the AP that Mickelson and Walters placed their trades about the same time in 2011. Federal investigators are looking into whether Icahn shared information of his takeover attempt of Clorox with Walters, and whether Walters passed that information to Mickelson.
The New York offices of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI declined to comment.
The newspaper reports said federal officials also were examining trades by Mickelson and Walters involving Dean Foods Co. in 2012.
DUBLIN, Ohio — Bubba Watson put himself in position for his third win of the year Saturday with a 3-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over Scott Langley at the Memorial.
Watson has never finished in the top 20 at Muirfield Village. Even with a bogey on the last hole, he had his third straight round in the 60s and was at 12-under 204.
It will be an all-lefty final pairing with Langley, who has gone 40 straight holes without a bogey and had a 67.
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan birdied his last hole for a 69 and was two shots behind. Adam Scott was three shots back after a 68.
SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Stacy Lewis moved into position to take the top spot in the world, shooting a bogey-free 8-under 63 on Saturday to match the 36-hole record in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
The second-ranked Lewis had a 12-under 130 total on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club
A victory today would guarantee Lewis the No. 1 ranking, which Inbee Park has held for 59 straight weeks after taking it from Lewis. Park, playing in the windier afternoon session, had a 70 to fall six strokes behind Lewis.
Lewis, the 2012 winner, won the North Texas LPGA Shootout four weeks ago.
First-round leader Jennifer Johnson followed her course record 63 with a 70 to finish at 10 under.
PRINCIPAL CHARITY CLASSIC
DES MOINES, Iowa — Doug Garwood shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead after the second round of the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic.
Garwood had an 11-under 133 total at Wakonda Club.
Michael Allen, the Allianz Championship winner in February, was second after a 66. Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Pernice Jr. were 9 under. Calcavecchia had a 69, and Pernice shot 67.
Garwood is a conditionally exempt player making only his fourth start of the year. His best finish was a tie for 25th in the Allianz.
MALMO, Sweden — Second-ranked Henrik Stenson shot an 8-under 64 in the Nordea Masters for a share of the third-round lead with England’s Eddie Pepperell.
Stenson matched Pepperell (65) at 13-under 203 on PGA Sweden National’s Lakes Course. The Swede is winless this year after sweeping the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup last season.
Scotland’s Stephen Gallagher (65) and Spain’s Alvaro Quiros of Spain were a stroke back.
By wire sources