Phil Mickelson, who remains one of the world's most popular golfers even as his game slowly fades, was cordial, yet short, when we asked him at the Waste Management Open about his new lawsuit.
"I support freedom of speech 100 percent all the way, but I'm not going to stand for someone defam[ing] me and my family," Lefty said shortly after a decent round that left him within striking distance of the leader (he finished tied for 26th place, earning $43,310).
Mickelson was referring to a curious January 25 defamation lawsuit he filed in a Canadian courtroom against Internet service provider giant Videotron.
The future Hall of Fame golfer already has persuaded a Quebec judge to order the ISP to turn over (within 10 days) identifying info about two anonymous posters who slimed him and his wife, Amy, on the Yahoo! Sports site late last year.
The postings on a chat board claimed that Mickelson has an illegitimate child living in Ohio, and that wife Amy once had a sexual affair with none other than basketball god Michael Jordan.
Golf fans know of the struggles against breast cancer that mother of three and onetime Phoenix Suns dancer Amy has endured during the past few years. It's been a tough haul for the couple, for sure, and one that surely has taken its toll on Phil's remarkable game.
For the record, no evidence exists that we've seen to confirm anything but Phil Mickelson is a good golfer and his wife is a doting mother and wife who has gone through hell physically.
According to the Vancouver Sun, the anonymous statements "have profoundly shocked [Mickelson] and constitute deliberate and persistent attacks on his impeccable reputation."
The case is being heard in Canada because Mickelson's team apparently tracked the users' I.P. addresses to Videotron, based in Quebec.
A cursory review of Canadian law suggests that courts there usually have sided with companies such as Videotron against copyright holders seeking the names of people illegally downloading movies and music.
We are keenly aware of the anonymous commenting issue here, and (speaking personally) usually don't bother even looking at the comments that come in after writing one of the cover stories we do every year.
We very rarely use anonymous sources in our stories and don't appreciate people talking nasty shit about someone else without having the cojones to do it by name.
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When it comes to someone like Mickelson, part of us wants to applaud his effort at trying to find out who is spreading unsubstantiated dirt about him and his wife.
That said, Phil's lawsuit sounds like the proverbial slippery slope, both legally and otherwise.
And consider this: We had known nothing about the rumors regarding the Mickelsons until he filed his suit right before the golf tournament here.