Phil Mickelson wants to buy Padres

Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson has joined a group hoping to buy the San Diego Padres.

Mickelson, a San Diego native, told the U-T San Diego on Monday that he has rejected previous opportunities to become involved in sports ownership, but the Padres are an appealing option.

"This was a unique opportunity with families that had done this before and know how to do it right and want to get involved in the community," Mickelson said.

Mickelson told the paper he's joined a group headlined by former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, one of five known parties interested in purchasing a controlling interest in the club. Former Padres legend Tony Gwynn recently joined a potential ownership group led by movie producer Thomas Tull.

Owner John Moores is selling the Padres after a 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.

Moores owns 51 percent while Moorad's group owns 49 percent.

Mickelson said he would put "a lot" of his own money in the deal and that, "given the price tag, it's a significant amount."

Mickelson has earned more than $66 million during his career on the PGA Tour in prize money and considerably more in endorsements.

"I feel it's a great financial opportunity, yes," Mickelson said of the Padres. "But what excites me is the financial opportunity and the opportunity to get the community more involved with the Padres.

" ... Growing up, the Padres were my team and still are. I always had a love for the team. But (recently) I just felt disassociated with the organization a little bit as a fan. I just know I didn't identify with the players or have an emotional connection. Where I want to get involved is I want to get a personal involvement with the players and the community -- personal interaction with fans, more community outreach. I want to create an emotional tie with the players and the community."

Mickelson, 41, has won 40 PGA Tour titles, including four major championships. He said he did not expect a possible interest in the Padres to affect his golf career. He is playing in this week's Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, followed by the U.S. Open in two weeks.

"I have as strong a desire to compete as ever," he said. "I'm working on my game, trying to get ready for the U.S. Open."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.