Phil Mickelson admitted Thursday at the 2019 Players Championship that he and his wife, Amy, worked with college-admission scammer Rick Singer, though they were not involved in the kinds of unscrupulous bribes that have ensnared "Full House" actress Lori Laughlin and her husband, G/Fore founder Mossimo Giannulli.
In a tweet, Mickelson acknowledged hiring Singer's Edge College & Career Network, colloquially referred to as The Key, in the college search process for the couple's three children.
Our family, along with thousands of others, used Rick Singer’s company to guide us through the college admission process. We are shocked by the revelations of these events. Obviously, we were not part of this fraud, our kids would disown us if we ever tried to interfere.
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) March 14, 2019
Singer faces up to 65 years in federal prison after he was arrested and plead guilty to four counts related to a massive bribery scheme. Singer would receive "donations" to his company's non-profit organization, which would then be passed on to university officials and coaches and admissions staffers in an effort to pay for a student's admission to a school. In many cases, the athletic officials and coaches were bribed to offer a position on an athletic team for a Singer client, even when the child had no experience in said sport. Frequently, Singer clients were encouraged to create fraudulent athletic profiles and change admissions materials to cover up these claims.
In other cases, Singer would arrange for clients to be able to take SAT and ACT tests with preferred private proctors, allowing those proctors to help students with answers -- or, even take the test outright for the student.
After an opening 2-over 74 at TPC Sawgrass, Mickelson explained his family employed Singer's company for tutoring services and in help finding colleges and universities that were a fit for his kids. Mickelson's daughter, Amanda, is at Brown University, while daughter Sophia and son Evan are in high school. Mickelson said, to date, he and his family looked at some three dozen schools based on recommendations from Singer and his associates.
“He was highly recommended by numerous friends that checked out, so we ended up using him,” Mickelson said. “Where he and his company were helpful was helping our kids, who have such different personalities, to find the best place for them. And then knowing going in what you need to do academically, score-wise, to be able to get there.”
The Mickelsons were so pleased with Singer's company, they provided a testimonial that was featured on the company website for Singer's company. However, Mickelson denied making any financial contributions to Singer’s non-profit, insisting there was no involvement akin to that of Laughlin or other rich and famous people named in criminal complaints.
“Our kids are, schools are like fighting to get them. And I say that as a proud dad. Their grades and their outside activities, and their worldly views on things have colleges recruiting them,” he said. “We’re not a part of this. Most every family that has used the company is not a part of it. So that’s why I think we’re all surprised.”