Phil Mickelson Gambling Stories


Posted: May 17, 2022

Updated: May 17, 2022

  • Phil Mickelson is one of the greatest golf players of all time
  • He also loves gambling and used to bet during practices
  • According to the latest biography about him, Mickelson lost $40 million in 4 years
Phil Mickelson in ’14 – Image source: Flickr

One of the most famous golf players is Phil Mickelson whose life hasn’t been without scandals and controversies. According to a golf writer, the American star is also a big gambler who lost $40 million in just four years’ time. How did he do it? And what did he bet on? Find all the details in our summary of the best Phil Mickelson gambling stories below. 

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Being rich and famous can bring new opportunities in life from making your own business to finding a new hobby. Or just spending a huge amount of money on gambling as it happened with six-time major winner Phil Mickelson. He made all kinds of bets but wasn’t too successful with them after losing almost $40 million dollars between 2010 and 2014. One of the best golf players of the last decades just couldn’t resist betting on all kinds of things. From his own shots to a boxing match, Mickelson could wager on anything. 

Phil Mickelson gambling
Image source: Flickr

Bet with a fan belongs to the first Phil Mickelson gambling stories

One of the most unusual stories about Mickelson’s gambling habits is from 2014 in Augusta. He was in a middle of a practice round when he heard a fan talking about his shots. The man wasn’t happy with Mickelson’s performance and mentioned that he didn’t have a chance of hitting it right. The multi-time champion accepted a bet from the fan about his next shot, but he missed it. Luckily he only lost one dollar but still had to borrow it from a caddie, as he didn’t have any money with himself. It wasn’t the last time though that Mickelson made a bet during playing golf as you can read in the next Phil Mickelson gambling story. 

Betting with other players

Mickelson regularly made a bet with his fellow players during a practice round or other special appearances. Like in 2010 at St Andrews where he played along with Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson. Mickelson suggested a simple bet: the worst score pays the best score $1000. Watney lost the bet and had to pay Mickelson who asked him to pay his debt in pounds as they were in the UK. Not a very nice gesture from the six-time major champion who got his sixth victory at last year’s PGA Championship.

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He is not likely to compete in the tournament this time but you can already make bets on the winner on online gambling sites in Canada like bet99. Lefty also made bets with young players who took it an honor to play against the legend. 17-year-old Australian golfer, Ryan Ruffels also had a chance of joining Mickelson and his brother, Tim for a round. They made a $2500 bet with Ruffels receiving a 2-1 odds. The youngster was lucky and did win the round which he happily shared with other players. It was a bad move though, as Mickelson got upset it and denied that they played for such an amount.

Tin Cup and other sports bets

Lefty couldn’t resist gambling on the set of the golf film, Tin Cup either. When someone suggested that he can’t hit a ball over a tall pine tree, he just did it. What’s more, his shoulder had to be against the tree, so his shot had to go straight up. Mickelson won $1200 with that shot but friendly bets were not the only thing that interested the golfer. For example he also bet on the 2001 Super Bowl as a part of a bigger group. They bet on Baltimore Ravens as the final winners which actually happened in that year. The group won half a million dollars with their early bet. You can also win online and get some great deals thanks to  online gambling bonuses in Canada

Phil Mickelson gambling
Mickelson at the ’18 US Open – Image source: Peetlesnumber1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Trouble with gambling 

Most sports organization doesn’t allow its athletes to gamble but there isn’t any rule about that in the PGA. Still, owing lots of money to a bettor was a problem for the association along with other issues with Mickelson. Like his stock market business when he made almost $1 million thanks to an insider trip from professional gambler Billy Walters. He was under investigation but wasn’t charged at the end. He did have to pay back his earnings though, which signed that something wasn’t quite right. While the latest biography about the player written by Alan Shipnuck states that Mickelson’s overall gambling debt were more than $40 million in 2014. His future at PGA is also in risk after his comments made on the organization. But hopefully we can still see him playing in one of the next big major golf tournaments. 

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