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Has recent history dulled golf titan's shine as celebrity endorser?

Enjoying a leisurely game of golf with one of the sport's global icons and a company endorser to boot might not be a preferred activity right now for any of KPMG's top-tier executives.

In fact, they might rather drive away from, rather than drive with, Phil Michelson.

Here's why, as some of our readers who follow sports likely already know: Michelson, or "Lefty," as he is widely known throughout the golf world, had a rather bad week.

In fact, last week surely must qualify as awful for the multiple Majors winner, with news surrounding his large gambling appetite and his participation in an insider trading scheme occupying front-and-center space in media outlets across much of the world.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has fined the golfer more than $1 million for money he unlawfully made after placing a large stock purchase following his receipt of an inside tip from a gambler. As a Wall Street Journal report notes, "Michelson apparently used his trading profits to pay off gambling debts."

The Journal states that the negative news spotlighting Michelson is most unwelcome to the golf great's myriad sponsors, especially KMPG, which commands global stature and is one of the so-called "Big Four" auditing companies. The paper cites the "reputational risk" posed to KMPG by the negativity now surrounding Michelson.

That risk is of course always a potentiality following any celebrity endorsement deal. The upside can be great -- in fact, is often spectacular -- for many companies and celebrities that mesh ideally in a product or service promotions, but dark clouds can also occasionally move in.

As they are now doing with Michelson.

Will KMPG continue to use him as an endorser?

The company is not tipping its hand. Following a recent statement from Michelson, KPMG merely noted that it was "disappointed" by the news.

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