Besides Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson may be the most recognizable name in golf. He’s amassed a ridiculous number of wins over a fantastic pro career. But there’s a darker side to the golfer. Mickelson has had issues with gambling. So how much has all of the betting really cost him?
Phil Mickelson’s net worth
According to reports, Mickelson has earned about $375 million during his golf career. This includes $80 million from golf and much more from his many corporate sponsors including Rolex, Callaway, and Exxon Mobil.
The 49-year-old has 44 career PGA victories. His career-low for a round is a score of 60 and his highest finish in the FedEx cup was second. Mickelson’s best single year was 1996 when he tallied four victories. The legend has won five majors in his career:
- The Masters (2004, 2006, 2010)
- The PGA Championship (2005)
- The British Open (2013)
There’s no doubt about his greatness as a player. But Mickelson’s activities off the course have caused controversy.
Behind Mickelson’s gambling
Mickelson is notorious for his gambling habits. Rumors about his betting approach a near-legendary status. During a practice round at Augusta in 2014, a fan in the gallery bet Mickelson a dollar he couldn’t get the shot up and down the hill. Mickelson missed the shot and had to borrow $1 from fellow PGA Tour-mate Jason Dufner’s caddy to pay off the bet.
But that’s pennies compared to the money Mickelson has wagered on the golf course. He’s taken from and lost money to PGA Tour veterans and younger pros alike. These totals number in the thousands.
Mickelson once told a young PGA player before an early tee time, “I don’t wake up this early to play for any less than $2,500.” According to actor Cheech Marin, Mickelson was even in a gambling mood on the set of the golf film Tin Cup:
“We were between scenes, standing around, and someone came up with a bet … There was this really tall pine tree, and someone said to Phil Mickelson, ‘I bet you can’t put your shoulder against the tree, drop a ball and hit it over the tree.’ The shot basically had to go straight up. Everybody threw in a hundred bucks. I think there was $1,200 in the pot. And he did it! When the ball was still in the air, Mickelson bent over, picked up the money, and put it in his pocket.”
Mickelson doesn’t just bet on golf, however.
How much Mickelson’s gambling issues cost him
According to court documents, in 2017, Mickelson paid $1.9 million to a Las Vegas bettor. For PGA Tour officials, this was much more troubling than a friendly wager on the course. The problem wasn’t the betting itself; it’s owing large amounts of money to a bettor. This points to a much bigger problem.
The $1.9 million cited above is only what the media knows about and has reported. Based on Mickelson’s love of gambling, it wouldn’t be surprising to assume he’s had more gambling debts.
The PGA Tour hasn’t taken action against Mickelson, although they’ve referred to his on-course bets as “technical violations.” But Mickelson’s gambling history – – with regards to sports betting more so than golf activity — may continue to follow him like a black cloud.
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