Phil Mickelson wants to be more than just a fan of the San Diego Padres. He wants to help buy the team.
Mickelson said Monday he has a joined one of the five groups trying to buy the team from John Moores, the Padres’ majority owner for the last 18 years. Mickelson is part of the group that includes four grandchildren of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley: Kevin and Brian O’Malley, and their cousins Peter and Tom Seidler, the chief executive of Class A Visalia Rawhide.
”I’ve been talking to them about being involved with them, having an opportunity to invest in the team and being part of the ownership group,” Mickelson said. ”I think it’s a very good investment opportunity. More than that, it’s opportunity to be involved in the community in San Diego, with something that gives the community a sense of pride. I feel like we can make the Padres a competitive team that can contend year in and year out, and we can do something for the community.
”It’s something I’ve loved since I was a kid.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported the involvement of Mickelson, a four-time major champion who was inducted this month into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Mickelson brings the O’Malley clan a local investor and of San Diego’s greatest athletes.
San Diego’s biggest baseball star, another lefty, is involved in another group trying to buy the Padres. Tony Gwynn said last week he is joining the bid led by Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary Entertainment.
”When we met with Phil we were inspired by his commitment to San Diego and his passion for the Padres,” Kevin O’Malley said in a statement to the Union-Tribune. ”He is a world-class person, athlete and businessman with a strong history of charitable leadership and he will be an ideal partner for many years in San Diego.”
Mickelson said he was asked to get involved in an ownership bid three years ago, but didn’t feel it was a good fit.
”The O’Malley and Seidler family is the right group,” he said. ”They want to enhance the community tie, and that’s something I’ve wanted to be part of, as well. The tie between the community and the team has not been as strong as it has been in the past. I think there are some things where we can increase that relationship, the emotional tie with the community and the players.”
Moores’ proposed sale of the team to Jeff Moorad collapsed in March after baseball owners refused to approve Moorad as controlling owner. Moorad headed a group that in March 2009 agreed to a gradual takeover of the Padres. At the time, the deal was estimated to be worth around $500 million.
The Padres could be worth a few hundred million more this time, in light of the Dodgers being sold for a record $2 billion and the Padres’ new TV deal with Fox.
Moores owns 51 percent while Moorad’s group owns 49 percent.
Asked about his proposed investment, Mickelson said only that it would be ”a lot,” and that it would be a ”significant investment opportunity.”
As for his role?
”Day-to-day operations, running a sports organization, that’s not my forte,” Mickelson said. ”I want to have a personal relationship with the players and find ways to get them tied to the community, things of that nature.”