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Phil Disclosure: Mickelson Owns Five Guys Rights

At The Players Championship last week, Phil Mickelson made a big statement when he told the press that he preferred Five Guys Burgers and Fries over In-N-Out Burger.

Phil Mickelson and Five Guys
Getty Images | Collin Harvey
Phil Mickelson and Five Guys

“I grew up on In-N-Out,” said Mickelson, who admitted he had gone to Five Guys for six days in a row. “I thought that was the best burger until I had Five Guys. That is hands down the best burger I’ve ever had.”

Mickelson’s comments certainly hit a nerve as the Five Guys vs. In-N-Out debate is the modern day fast food feud that used to be all about McDonald’s vs. Burger King .

On the surface, it appeared like another free food endorsement from Phil, whose photo of him picking up Krispy Kremes in his Masters jacketin Augusta the day after he won drummed up millions of dollars worth of publicity for the doughnut chain.

It turned out it wasn’t.

Yesterday, fellow golfer Stewart Cink, a big fan of In-N-Out whose Twitter profile shows him eating an In-N-Out burger and fries, directed this tweet at AP golf writer Doug Ferguson.

Yesterday, fellow golfer Stewart Cink, a big fan of In-N-Out, directed this tweet at AP golf writer Doug Ferguson.

“Keep in mind, PM owns SoCal rights to FiveGuys. Biased argument?”

Cink wasn’t far off.

T.R. Reinman, spokesman for Gaylord Sports Management, which represents Mickelson, confirmed to CNBC on Tuesday that Mickelson is in fact part of a group that has purchased the rights for Five Guys franchises in Orange County.

It depends on how much Mickelson will attach his name to the Five Guys franchises, but if he fully endorses the product, it could be a huge boost as Five Guys moves into In-N-Out territory.

In-N-Out is family owned and has about 250 locations, mostly in California, where the franchise started 62 years ago. More than 20 of their locations are in Orange County.

Five Guys was founded in 1986, and only had six locations in Virginia in 2002, but over the last eight years, they’ve used the franchise model to grow to more than 500 locations in 30 states. So far, Five Guys only has two restaurants within a 100-mile radius of Los Angeles and only one restaurant in Mickelson’s hometown of San Diego.

According to Five Guys’ Web site, a perspective owner must have a net worth of $1.3 million and liquid assets of $500,000. The franchise fee for each restaurant is $25,000. There’s a development fee of $50,000 and build out costs of in between $200,000 and $500,000. The owner must also give Five Guys a six percent royalty fee and pay three percent in marketing fees.

The deal with Mickelson isn’t the only connection to the sports world for Five Guys. Former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley is the company’s director of franchising.

This isn’t Mickelson’s first attempt to get into the restaurant business. Last year, Mickelson and two partners, including his agent Steve Loy, bid $20.2 million on 105 Waffle House restaurants in four states. They ultimately did not get the restaurants.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com