Phil Mickelson’s love of gambling is well-known. He’s never been secretive about his desire to have some action on games and his money matches in practice rounds on Tour (and now with LIV Golf) are legendary — and LIV even makes videos of them for the public.
However, that love of gambling has gotten Phil into some issues and is part of why he joined LIV, with a reported $40 million in losses in the early 2010s alone. That number is apparently only scratching the surface, as legendary sports gambler Billy Walters released an excerpt from his new book in Golf Digest that includes two chapters on Mickelson, as the two had a partnership for a few years, offering up detailed records of Phil’s wild betting. There’s a lot to take in and I highly suggest reading the full excerpt, as it alleges Phil tried to bet $400,000 on the 2012 Ryder Cup he was playing in — which would’ve lost — but Walters refused. It also includes a full on accounting of how much Phil was betting and how often, with some absolutely stunning figures.
They said it was nothing for Phil to bet $20,000 a game on long-shot, five-team NBA parlays. Or wager $100,000 or $200,000 a game on football, basketball, and baseball. Based upon my detailed betting records and additional records provided by the sources, here is a snapshot of Phil’s gambling habit between 2010 and 2014:Advertisement
• He bet $110,000 to win $100,000 a total of 1,115 times.
• On 858 occasions, he bet $220,000 to win $200,000. (The sum of those 1,973 gross wagers came to more than $311 million.)
• In 2011 alone, he made 3,154 bets—an average of nearly nine per day.Advertisement
• On one day in 2011 (June 22), he made forty-three bets on major-league baseball games, resulting in $143,500 in losses.
• He made a staggering 7,065 wagers on football, basketball, and baseball.AdvertisementAdvertisement
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. 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 is me.
I enjoy spraying the board with bets as much as anyone, as having a little action definitely keeps me a little more locked in on games, but to have that much volume with that much at stake is truly insane. And this isn’t just hearsay, as Walters kept detailed records of bets made during his partnership with Mickelson and knows firsthand how much Mickelson was heaving. Part of the reason his partnership with Walters ended was the sportsbooks realized Phil was winning too much and his betting was “too disciplined” which raised red flags that he wasn’t just making the bets himself.
It’s hard to decide what the most jaw-dropping part of this excerpt is, as I’m torn between $20,000 5-team long-shot NBA parlays and likely betting $1 billion in total, but I think the funniest one is making 43 MLB bets in one day and losing six figures in the middle of June. Mickelson’s gambling debts were allegedly part of what led him to chase the LIV Golf money, and if Walters’ estimate is right and the $40 million report was not even close to the amount he’s lost, it’s no surprise he was chasing that payday.