Phil Mickelson Investigated by FBI, Golf's Real Action Remains Outside the Ropes

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2014

Phil Mickelson reacts after making double bogey on the 17th hole during the first round of the Memorial golf tournament Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Forget the fact that the game of golf is completely void of a superstar right now.

Forget the fact that Adam Scott reached the No. 1 position two weeks ago in the World Golf Rankings while not having won an event anywhere in the world in over six months.

Forget the fact that Scott’s win at last week’s Crown Plaza Invitational was the first time all year that a player ranked within the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings has won a PGA Tour event.

Forget the fact that television ratings are plummeting. Even the Masters, which has historically been the crown jewel of golf broadcasts and immune to the ups and downs in viewership, saw its ratings drop to its lowest level since 1957, which was one year before Arnold Palmer won his first Masters.

We simply need to look outside the ropes to find a vast array of excitement this season.

Tiger Woods shocked us all six weeks ago when he announced that he had undergone back surgery and would be out of action for an extended period of time.

Just days after Scott tied for 14th at the Masters, he married Swedish architect Marie Kojzar during a small, impromptu ceremony in the Bahamas where the guests didn’t even know they were going to be attending a wedding.

Perhaps the most amazing part of Scott's ultra-secret wedding was that the media didn’t even get wind of the event until several weeks later at the Players Championship.

Despite rumors running rampant about their imminent breakup, Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki were engaged on New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia.

Five months later, and just days after sending out wedding invitations, McIlroy called off the wedding and ended their three-year relationship during a three-minute phone call according to the Daily Mail's Mia De Graaf.

McIlroy then went out and blitzed the field during the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth to capture his biggest win in nearly two years.

Four days later, McIlroy was back in action at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, where he posted an opening-round score of 63 to take a three-stroke lead on the field.

However, that first round was not without drama, as he injured his left knee while hitting an approach shot on the par-five seventh. McIlroy then spent the rest of the afternoon doing his best impression of Woods at Torrey Pines.

Several hours later, Wozniacki changed her Twitter profile picture to an image of her dressed as a witch and stirring some sort of purple brew. McIlroy went out the next day and posted a score of 78, which was 15 strokes worse than his opening-round 63 and dropped back into a tie for 24th heading into the weekend.

The PGA Tour then got even more interesting Friday afternoon, when Phil Mickelson walked off the course after posting a second-round score of 70 and was met by two FBI agents.

Mickelson referred the agents to his lawyer, and it was later reported by the Wall Street Journal (h/t that Mickelson, along with Las Vegas gambler William “Billy" Walters and billionaire investor Carl Icahn, was being investigated for insider trading related to irregular activity around Clorox stock.

The news that Mickelson was being investigated by the FBI and SEC quickly made front-page headlines around the world, and Mickelson released the following statement Saturday morning, as reported by Rex Hoggard at

"I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so. I wish I could fully discuss this matter, but under the current circumstances it's just not possible."

Who says that golf is a dull sport played by emotionless men in khakis and button-down shirts?

Secret weddings in the Bahamas, engagements abruptly ended, FBI investigations, heck, daytime soap opera writers couldn’t have created a better script than this.

The 2014 golf season has been nothing short of riveting, just as long as you look for the action outside the ropes.