Phil Mickelson considered a $400,000 bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup – in which he was participating – according to a book that will be released later this month by professional gambler Billy Walters.
An excerpt was published Thursday by Fire Pit Collective and Golf Digest.
In the excerpt, Walters said he was in what he described as a gambling partnership with Mickelson for five years, ending in the spring of 2014.
After that partnership, Walters said, he learned more about the golfer’s sports gambling from “two very reliable sources,” but he does not identify them.
Citing his own betting records and additional records provided by his sources, Walters alleges that between 2010 and 2014 Mickelson “made a staggering 7,065 wagers on football, basketball, and baseball.”
“In 2011 alone, he made 3,154 bets—an average of nearly nine per day,” the except said of Mickelson.
“Based on our relationship and what I’ve since learned from others, Phil’s gambling losses approached not $40 million as has been previously reported, but much closer to $100 million,” Walters wrote. “In all, he wagered a total of more than $1 billion during the past three decades.
“The only other person I know who surpassed that kind of volume,” Walters wrote, “is me.”
In a Thursday post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mikelson denied betting on the 2012 Ryder Cup.
“While it is well known that I always enjoy a friendly wager on the course, I would never undermine the integrity of the game,” he said. “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.”
‘Don’t you remember what happened to Pete Rose?’
One of the more stunning allegations Walters makes is that Mickelson called him in September 2012 to ask him to bet $400,000 on the US team to beat Europe in the Ryder Cup. Mickelson was a member of that US squad.
“Have you lost your f—— mind? Don’t you remember what happened to Pete Rose?” Walters writes in the book that he answered. “You’re seen as a modern-day Arnold Palmer. You’d risk all that for this? I want no part of it.”
“Alright, alright,” Mickelson replied, according to the excerpt.
Walters wrote he doesn’t know if Mickelson ever placed that bet. Europe went on to beat the US.
In a social media post dated June 2, Mickelson said in response to someone else’s post, “Haven’t gambled in years. Almost a billionaire now.”
Mickelson’s gambling has been well documented by the media, and he has himself previously talked about his struggles with sports gambling.
In June 2022, Mickelson told Sports Illustrated: “Gambling has been part of my life ever since I can remember. But about a decade ago is when I would say it became reckless. It’s embarrassing. I don’t like that people know. The fact is I’ve been dealing with it for some time.”
In that interview, Mickelson said his wife, Amy, has been very supportive “with me and the process.”
“We’re at place after many years where I feel comfortable with where that is,” Mickelson told Sports Illustrated interview. “It isn’t a threat to me or my financial security. It was just a number of poor decisions.”
‘Most dangerous sports bettor in Nevada’
Walters, whose risky bets earned him the title of the “most dangerous sports bettor in Nevada,” was convicted of insider trading charges in a federal court in New York in April 2017.
The legendary gambler, who prosecutors said made more than $43 million by making trades on inside information about Dean Foods, was sentenced to five years in prison, according to the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
In 2021, former President Donald Trump commuted Walters’ sentence.
Walters suggested in the book, according to Golf Digest, that Mickelson was to blame for the prison sentence.
“Phil Mickelson, one of the most famous people in the world and a man I once considered a friend, refused to tell a simple truth that he shared with the FBI and could have kept me out of prison,” Walters wrote. “I never told him I had inside information about stocks and he knows it. All Phil had to do was publicly say it. He refused.”
A year before his conviction, Walters made headlines when Mickelson was ordered to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $1 million in fines for profiting off a tip from Walters about Dean Foods.
Mickelson was named as a “relief defendant” in the case, meaning he benefited from wrongdoing but was not accused of any illegal act.
Controversy over Saudi-backed tour
Mickelson, one of the most successful and popular golfers, is a six-time major winner.
The superstar came under fire last year over his involvement in the controversial LIV Golf, the world’s most lucrative golf tour.
Mickelson was quoted from a 2021 interview with author Alan Shipnuck for his book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” as saying that he would consider joining the proposed Super League because it is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”
Shipnuck quoted Mickelson as saying disparaging things about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and asserting that the kingdom killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the man who a US intelligence report named as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of Khashoggi. Bin Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.
In June, the US-based PGA Tour announced it was partnering with LIV Golf, ending a long-running feud within the men’s professional game.
Groups representing families and survivors of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were outraged by the partnership.
The allegations of Saudi government complicity with the attacks have long been the subject of dispute in Washington. Fifteen of the 19 al Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four planes were Saudi nationals, but the Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks.
The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said in 2004 it had found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al Qaeda.