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Tour Confidential: How will the FBI investigation affect Mickelson's game? Plus, Matsuyama's potential and Bay Hill vs. Memorial

Phil Mickelson
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FBI agents approached Phil Mickelson after his opening round Thursday. He closed with a 1-over 73 on Sunday.

Every Sunday night, conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. After reports that the FBI was looking at some of Phil Mickelson's stock trades, Mickelson said that he had done nothing wrong and that the situation would not affect his U.S. Open preparation. What impact will the FBI investigation and ensuing publicity have on Mickelson's golf?

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It will improve it. A distraction for Phil is like giving Ritalin to a hyperactive kid.

Joe Passov, senior editor, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): If anyone can handle major distractions and still play terrific golf, it's Phil Mickelson. Between his wife Amy's physical issues, his own, the impending birth of a child (at the '99 Pinehurst U.S. Open) and a slew of other concerns, Mickelson has managed to plow through. His tongue-in-cheek humor displayed at the Memorial press conferences is a good sign that he can cope with the latest crisis. Perhaps this will serve as a sufficient -- but not overwhelming -- distraction to allow him to break through at Pinehurst, his multiple near-misses and the relentless, if understandable pressure to win taking a back seat.

Mike Walker, assistant managing editor, (@michaelwalkerjr): I believe Mickelson when he says he did nothing wrong, but his golf will suffer as the investigation continues. FBI agents showing up at a tournament after he plays a round of golf has to be unnerving.

Jeff Ritter, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group (@Jeff_Ritter): Off-course issues can sometimes help (see Rory last week) or hurt. But put yourself in Phil's alligator wingtips: If you've done nothing wrong, this is just a minor irritation and not the kind of thing that loses U.S. Opens.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magaizine (@JoshSens): It won’t help. But how much it hurts depends on how the investigation plays out and how much hot water (if any) he is actually in. Mickelson says he has learned to buffer himself from off-course distractions when he’s competing, but life has a funny way of spilling into golf, no matter how great the player or how staunch his resolve. Maybe this will all blow over quickly. But, well, put it this way: I’m not taking Phil in my U.S. Open pool.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): Phil likes to beat long odds. It may actually help.

2. Memorial winner Hideki Matsuyama has been making a name for himself since turning pro last year, especially with his performance at the 2013 majors (T10 at U.S. Open and T6 at British Open). What impresses you most about his game?

VAN SICKLE: Matsuyama hits an awful lot of iron shots really, really close. That works on any course or any venue. He's for real, and tourney host Jack Nicklaus said he'll be a top player for the next 10 to 15 years.

PASSOV: Peter Kostis loves Matsuyama's rhythm, and I'm not going to argue. He's long, boasts a complete game and as evidenced by a few temperament issues, he's got serious competitive fire. Big props for his approach to the 72nd and the birdie putt, following a bunch of deflating holes.

SENS: Length, touch and a tough-to-ruffle temperament. Wait. That describes almost everyone on Tour. What I really love is that silky tempo, with the syncopated pause at the top.

WALKER: I like Matsuyama’s sense of the moment. He plays his best in the biggest events.

BAMBERGER: A putting stroke that I would -- I can't even finish the thought.

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