The federal government may have a tough time bringing an insider trading case against Masters champion golfer Phil Mickelson, activist investor Carl Icahn and sports gambler William Walters. (Reuters)

Clorox is well known for its cleaning products. Ironically, an association with Clorox may provide quite the stain on Phil Mickelson’s reputation, and possibly a jail sentence.

According to reports, Mickelson, along with legendary investor Carl Icahn and equally legendary sports gambler William “Billy” Walters, is under investigation for insider trading. From a report in the Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are examining whether Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Walters traded illicitly on nonpublic information from Mr. Icahn about his investments in public companies, people briefed on the probe said.

Specifically, authorities are looking into well-timed trades Mickelson and Walters made in 2011 involving Clorox. According to the New York Times:

Mr. Icahn, a 78-year-old billionaire and one of the best known investors in the world, was mounting a takeover bid for Clorox around the time that Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Walters placed their trades.

An attorney for Mickelson denies that his client is the target of any investigation. The three-time Masters champ had better hope so, because one only has to recall the case of Martha Stewart, a celebrity of equal stature, to understand the kind of trouble Mickelson may be in. Between 2004 and 2005, Stewart served five months in federal prison after being found guilty of obstructing justice in an insider-trading investigation.

In what seems like much, much less significant news for Mickelson, he shot a 70 Friday in the second round and made the cut at the Memorial Tournament.