Mickelson refuses to comment on money-laundering allegations

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Report: Mickelson Tied to Money Laundering, Gambling Case

GULLANE, Scotland (AP) — Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson refused to comment on allegations linking him to an illegal gambling operation, saying Wednesday he is used to being an "object to be discussed."

ESPN reported last week that $2.75 million belonging to Mickelson was transferred to a former sports gambling handicapper, who pleaded guilty to laundering money. According to court documents obtained by ESPN, the money was part of "an illegal gambling operation which accepted and placed bets on sporting events."

"The fact is, I'm comfortable enough with who I am as a person that I don't feel I need to comment on every little report that comes out," Mickelson said, when asked for a response to the ESPN report.

ESPN reported that Mickelson, one of the biggest names in the sport, hasn't been charged with a crime and isn't under federal investigation.

See Phil Mickelson throughout his career:

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Phil Mickelson throughout his career
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Mickelson refuses to comment on money-laundering allegations
CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 14: Phil Mickelson yells four after teeing off on the 16th hole during round one at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 14, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson watches the ball fly during a NCAA golfing event.
21 Feb 1993: Phil Mickelson lines up a putt during the 1993 Buick Invitational at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in Torrey Pines, California. Mandatory Credit: Gary Newkirk /Allsport
24 Feb 1995: Phil Mickelson looks on during the Nissan Los Angeles Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, California.
27 Jan 1996: Phil Mickelson of the USA drives at the 17th hole during the final round of the Phoenix Open at the TPC of Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mickelson defeated Justin Leonard in a three-hole playoff. Mandatory Credit: Simon P. Barnett/Alls
9 Feb 1996: Golfer Phil Mickelson takes to the green during competition at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, CaliforniaCalifornia. Mickelson finished 17 under par for a 271. Davis Love III won the tournament by two strokes
8 Feb 1996: Phil Mickelson swings at the ball during the Buick Invitational in San Diego, California.
31 Jan 1998: Phil Mickelson during the AT&T National Pro-Am at Spyglass Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones /Allsport
23 Aug 1997: Phil Mickelson hugs Amy Mickelson at the NEC World Series of Golf at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Greg Norman went on to win the tournament.
10 Apr 1999: Phil Mickelson of the USA plays out the bunker during the 1999 US Masters at the Augusta National GC in Augusta, Georgia, USA. \ Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones /Allsport
18 Aug 2000: Phil Mickelson follows his drive during the PGA Championship, part of the PGA Tour at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport
25 Jan 2001: A silhouette of a golfer during the Phoenix open at the TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona.Mandatory Credit: Jon Ferrey /Allsport
8 Apr 2001: Phil Mickelson of the USA lines up a putt on the 4th green during the final day of the 2001 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, GA, USA.....DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday/ALLSPORT
15 Jun 2001: Phil Mickelson hits a long drive during the 101st US Open at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport
29 Nov 2001: Phil Mickelson plays golf at Whisper Rock, a course that he designed in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC - APRIL 20: Phil Mickelson pulls a club during the third round of the WorldCom Classic at Harbour Town GL in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on April 19, 2002. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)
GULLANE, SCOTLAND - JULY 16: Phil Mickelson of the USA waits to play his shot during the practice round for the 131st Open Championships at Muirfield Golf Club, Gullane, Scotland on July 16, 2002. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
THOMASTOWN - 19 SEPTEMBER: Phil Mickelson of the USA hits his approach to the second green during the first round of the World Golf Championships: American Express Championship at Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Kilkenny, Ireland on September 19, 2002. (photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Phil Mickelson of USA celebrates his birdie on the 1st hole with David Toms of USA during the third round of the EMC World Cup at the Vista Vallarta Club de Golf on December 14, 2002 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
OLYMPIA FIELDS, IL - JUNE 13: Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt during the second round of the 2003 US Open on the North Course at the Olympia Fields Country Club on June 13, 2003, Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Phil Mickelson of the USA plays out from a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of the Open Championship at the Royal St George's course on July 17, 2003 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, UNITED STATES: Phil Mickelson (L) of the US receives the green jacket from 2003 Champion Mike Weir (R) of Canada at the awards ceremony after Mickelson made the birdie putt the 18th green during the final round of the Masters Golf Tournament 11 April 2004 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA. Mickelson won the tournament at nine under par. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson checks the wind at Whistling Straits, site of the 86th PGA Championship in Haven, Wisconsin August 12, 2004. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 13: Phil Mickelson during the final round of the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Club in Pebble Beach, California on February 13, 2005. Mickelson won the event by four strokes at -19 par. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MAMARONECK, NY - JUNE 15: Phil Mickelson hits a tee shot on the 15th hole during the first round of the 2006 US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club on June 15, 2006 in Mamaroneck, New York. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09: Phil Mickelson is presented the green jacket by Tiger Woods after his 7-under par victory during the Final Round of The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2006 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Getty Images)
STRAFFAN, IRELAND - AUGUST 28: Phil Mickelson of the USA speaks to the press during a USA Team Practice prior to the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on August 28, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 13: Phil Mickelson of the USA holds the trophy after the final round of THE PLAYERS held on the Stadium Course at The TPC Sawgrass, on May 13, 2007 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
SINGAPORE - NOVEMBER 15: Phil Mickelson of USA in action during the 3rd round of the Barclays Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club on November 15, 2008 in Singapore. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Defending champion Phil Mickelson walks to a tee box during the Pro-Am round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Former Master's champion Angel Cabrera, left, of Argentina helps Phil Mickelson put on his Masters jacket after his win at the 2010 Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round at the BMW Championship golf tournament on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, in Lemont, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
U.S. team's Phil Mickelson hits from a bunker off the 16th green during the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Royal Melbourne Golf Course in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/David Callow)
Phil Mickelson waits his turn to tee off on the fifth tee box during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, May 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
US golf player Phil Mickelson smiles during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. The Malaysia PGA Golf Tournament will begin Oct 24 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Golfer Phil Mickelson, center, arrives at an event honoring the 2013 Presidents Cup team during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, June 24, 2014 in Washington. The U.S. team beat an international squad during the Presidents Cup matches in October 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Phil Mickelson hits a shot on the 15th hole during a practice round for The Memorial golf tournament, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
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Gregory Silveira of La Quinta, California, pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering of funds from an unnamed gambling client of his between February 2010 and February 2013, according to ESPN, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.

"When I started to understand that I was more of an object to be discussed, it took out the personal element of when people say things," Mickelson said. "People are going to say things good, they are going to say things bad. They are going to say things true, they are going to say things not true."

Mickelson was more forthcoming on the issue of Donald Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants, saying he was "disappointed" and that the real estate mogul's remarks have put golfers "in an awkward situation."

"We don't agree with those comments but we are appreciative of what's done to promote the game of golf, and that puts everybody in a tough spot," Mickelson said.

Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, is facing a backlash, with the PGA of America announcing Tuesday it is moving the Grand Slam of Golf from his course in Los Angeles. NBC, Univision and Macy's are among several businesses that already have cut ties to Trump over his comments.

Trump has a long-standing relationship with golf, however, and his remarks about Mexican immigrants — who, he has claimed, are "criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc" in many cases — have placed golf in a difficult situation.

While Mickelson is a high-profile player to speak out, fellow American Ryder Cup players Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, who are also playing the Scottish Open in Gullane this week, didn't want to weigh into the controversy Wednesday.

Mickelson is back on Scotland's east coast for the first time since winning the 2013 British Open at Muirfield, a course situated a short walk from Gullane. Mickelson closed with a 6-under 66 — playing the last six holes in 4 under — to lift the claret jug for the first time, for what he says is "probably the most special victory of my career."

The 45-year-old American hasn't won a tournament since.

"I am going to stop by (Muirfield)," said Mickelson, who has his family with him in Scotland this week — just as he did in 2013 when he won the Scottish and British Opens in successive weeks. "I'd love to just walk the back nine again. It's probably the best nine holes of golf I've ever played."

Related: See Donald Trump's golf course in Scotland:

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Donald Trump Golf Course in Scotland
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Mickelson refuses to comment on money-laundering allegations
TURNBURRY, SCOTLAND - JUNE 08: Donald Trump visits Turnberry Golf Club, after its $10 Million refurbishment on June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 25: Anti-wind farm protestors demonstrate outside the Scottish Parliament as American tycoon Donald Trump pays a visit on April 25, 20012 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Trump spoke of his concerns over a proposed wind farm, mooted to built near his new GBP 1 billion golf resort, telling the Scottish Parliament that they will destroy tourism in the country.. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Work continues on Donald Trump's golf course currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: 10: Donald Trump and Colin Montgomerie share a joke after the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial £100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Work continues on Donald Trump's golf course currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
US tycoon Donald Trump (C) addresses the media as he officially opens his new multi-million pound Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on July 10, 2012. Work on the course began in July 2010, four years after the plans were originally submitted. AFP PHOTO / Andy Buchanan (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Michael Forbes stands beside his shed, near to Donald Trump's golf course which is currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Donald Trump plays a round of golf after the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial £100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
US tycoon Donald Trump plays a stroke as he officially opens his new multi-million pound Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on July 10, 2012. Work on the course began in July 2010, four years after the plans were originally submitted. AFP PHOTO / Andy Buchanan (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Michael Forbes stands beside his shed, near to Donald Trump's golf course which is currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Donald Trump (2nd R) opens The Trump International Golf Links Course as (L-R) George O'Grady, Colin Montgomerie and Don Trump Jr look on, on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial £100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 08: Tripping Up Trump campaigner holds a copy of the newspaper Menie Voices outside Robert Gordon University on October 8, 2010 in Aberdeen, Scotland. US business man Donald Trump recieved his honourary award of Doctor of Business Administration from the University. Mr Trump is currently building a golf development at the Menie Eastate outside Aberdeen. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 25: Donald Trump speaks during a press conference following his address to the Scottish Parliament on April 25, 20012 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Trump spoke of his concerns over a proposed wind farm, mooted to built near his new GBP 1 billion golf resort, telling the Scottish Parliament that they will destroy tourism in the country. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Work continues on Donald Trump's golf course currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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