The Securities and Exchange Commission has named Phil Mickelson as a “relief defendant” in a civil suit alleging Mickelson made $931,000 on a stock trade thanks to insider information from friend and famous sports bettor Billy Walters, who was arrested and charged with securities fraud as part of an investigation into trades of daily product maker Dean Foods.
Whilst Mickelson’s lawyers have said that he was an “innocent victim” in the trading and he has repaid over a million dollars back to the SEC questions about his behaviour remain. He entered the trade because he owed Billy Walters money from gambling debts. This is something which is clearly prohibited under the PGA Player rules and Ty Brocaw from the tour is investigating.
It could lead to Mickelson being suspended, as Dustin Johnson and John Daly have both been in the past.
But is the SEC pretty annoyed they can’t charge him because a recent change in the law in US v Newman? Oh yes. They won’t say it outright, but there is this telling quote from U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, at Thursday’s press conference: “Conduct we think is nefarious, and undermines faith in the market and the fairness of the markets, but will not be able to be prosecuted because of the Newman decision.”
In other words: Count your lucky stars, Phil. you wont be wearing orange like Rickie Fowler. Before the change in the law American celebrity chef Martha Stewart was sent to jail. It’s another one of Phil’s miraculous escapes.
Looking at the facts, Mickelson clearly benefited from the recent change in insider-trading laws. For a golfer who seems to believe that he’s the smartest guy in the room wherever he goes, he made a really dumb move.
Furthermore, for a guy who makes more than $50 million a year in winnings and endorsements, why would he risk his neck for a profit that falls short of what he’d make for filming a single commercial? What kind of decisions has he been making?
My theory just gathers momentum. It’s the adreneline rush of risk, of saying or doing the wrong thing or something contentious, and getting into a bit of bother, and the subsequent limelight, that motivates him. It’s why he plays his golf all over the golf course,the get out of that then situations that he likes. It’s just the latest in the long saga of Mickelson’s attention seeking dramas. Positive or negative, he just wants people to notice him. The latest in the string of pearls, the next installment will be at the US Open and then when he becomes Ryder Cup captain.
It’s becoming a soap opera.