Mickelson shrugs off probe, tunes up in Memphis

Wed Jun 4, 2014 8:05pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson has pushed aside the distraction of a federal probe to warm up for the U.S. Open at this week's FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mickelson has stayed committed to his golf even as reports swirled last week that U.S. investigators were looking into possible insider trading by the five-time major winner, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler William Walters.

The 43-year-old Mickelson, who confirmed the investigation on Saturday but denied any wrongdoing, was a runnerup to Harris English last year at TPC Southwind before finishing second behind Englishman Justin Rose in the U.S. Open at Merion.

Hoping to go one better in both events this time around, Mickelson spent time at Pinehurst No. 2 earlier this week before heading to Memphis ready to attack the golf course as the tournament's headline act.

He comes in without great form to speak of, having not posted a top 10 finish on the U.S. tour this season.

Should he fail to do so this week it would be the first time in his professional career to arrive at a national championship without a top 10 on his early season record.

The last time he headed to the U.S. Open without a good result was 1992 as a fresh-faced 21-year-old amateur.

"I would have liked to have better performances this year. I need to get four good rounds and get some momentum for next week,” Mickelson told reporters following his Pro-am round Wednesday.

“I love this golf course as a preparation for next week. The areas around the greens, which are critical next week at Pinehurst, are very similar here.   Continued...

May 31, 2014; Dublin, OH, USA; Phil Mickelson tees off at the first hole during the third round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports