PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — For the second straight week, Phil Mickelson found himself on the wrong side of the number, shooting a second-straight two-over 74 at TPC Sawgrass to miss the cut at the Players Championship.
And for a second straight day, he found himself addressing a widespread college admissions scandal and his family’s connection to the bribery scheme’s ringleader, Rick Singer.
“I'm used to taking hits,” Mickelson said Friday when asked if the events off the course this week had been a distraction on it. “But it hurts when you have your kids being questioned over doing nothing but working hard and studying hard. But we're going to be OK.”
On Thursday, Mickelson acknowledged he and wife Amy had hired the Edge College & Career Network and used the services of the company the last three years to help in the search process for all three of their children after getting positive recommendations about the company and its CEO William (Rick) Singer.
Singer has pled guilty to charges that his company, which also went by the name of The Key, bribed university coaches and officials and created fraudulent profiles for high school students pretending they were athletes in the hope it would aid in the application process. The company also allegedly helped students improve their standardized test scores.
“We along with thousands of other families hired his company to help guide us through the college application process,” Mickelson said on Thursday following his opening round. “We’re probably more shocked than anyone. We’ve been dealing with it the last few days.”
Though the Mickelsons were not involved in any criminal activities that were outlined in court on Tuesday, and Mickelson said he did not contribute any money to the foundation that Singer created that was involved in making the alleged bribes, the Mickelsons did give a testimonial that was featured on a website affiliated with the company.
The Mickelsons oldest child, Amanda, is a sophomore at Brown University, while middle child Sophia is a junior in high school and their youngest, Evan, a sophomore in high school.
As for Mickelson’s performance on the course, he did express concern over his recent struggles after having started off the year well with a runner-up at the Desert Classic followed by a win two starts later at Pebble Beach.
“It's been an interesting week,” said Mickelson, who made two double bogeys in his first four holes on Friday before making the turn in 40. “I don't know what it is about this golf course.”
Mickelson’s next start is likely to come in two weeks at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, with the year’s first major, the Masters, less than a month away.
“I missed two cuts in a row so that's not very encouraging,” Mickelson said. “But I've got next week off. I'll go home, get a little rest and work a few things out. But for me the biggest thing has been putting, I just haven't been putting anywhere near like I did last year and I just got to get that back. If I do I'll be in good shape and I got plenty of time to turn it around.”