Phil Mickelson has been open about his gambling in the past, but a new book is shedding light on the extent of the pro golfer’s addiction.
In Gambler: Secrets From a Life at Risk, the professional gambler Billy Walters alleges that Mickelson has spent more than $1 billion betting on football, basketball, and baseball over the past 30 years, ESPN reported on Thursday. Additionally, Walters claims that the golfer tried to place a $400,000 bet on Team USA during the 2012 Ryder Cup, in which he played.
“Phil liked to gamble as much as anyone I’ve ever met,” Walters writes, in excerpts first reported by the Fire Pit Collective. “Frankly, given Phil’s annual income and net worth at the time, I had no problems with his betting. And still don’t. He’s a big-time gambler, and big-time gamblers make big bets. It’s his money to spend how he wants.” (Throughout his career, Mickelson has made more than $96.6 million in PGA Tour on-course earnings, ESPN noted. And he’s said to have recently signed a $200 million contract with LIV Golf.)
Walters and Mickelson met at the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and formed a betting partnership in 2008. In his book, Walters says that from 2010 to 2014, Mickelson made 858 bets of $220,000 and 1,115 bets of $110,000. In the past three decades, the pro gambler estimates that the golfer lost about $100 million. “The only other person I know who surpassed that kind of volume is me,” Walters writes.
As for the Ryder Cup allegations, Walters says that Mickelson called him during the tournament and asked him to place the $400,000 bet. Walters refused to do so, and he’s not sure whether the golfer went elsewhere to place the wager. On Thursday, Mickelson refuted Walters’s claim.
“I never bet on the Ryder Cup,” he said in a statement. “While it is well known that I always enjoy a friendly wager on the course, I would never undermine the integrity of the game. I have also been very open about my gambling addiction. I have previously conveyed my remorse, took responsibility, have gotten help, have been fully committed to therapy that has positively impacted me and I feel good about where I am now.”