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Phil Mickelson Admits To Working On Gambling Addiction Issues

After Recent Revelations By Professional Gambler Billy Walters, Golfer Hopes To Make Changes


Phil MickelsonPhil Mickelson admits he has a gambling addiction and is working on it. That’s the message the pro golfer tried to convey in a Twitter post this week that covered some of his problems with betting over the last few years.

Beyond his connection with LIV Golf and winning six major titles, the 53-year-old recently made headlines for his wagering on and off the golf course. The new book Gambler: Secrets from a Life of Risk by professional gambler Billy Walters alleged that Mickelson has wagered around $1 billion on football, basketball, and baseball over the past 30 years.

That included an allegation of Mickelson trying to place a $400,000 bet on the 2012 American Ryder Cup, of which he was a member. Walters reportedly refused to take the action.

Mickelson denied making such a bet, but did not specify if he tried.

“I never bet on the 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 did, however, admit he has a problem and addressed wagering on the upcoming NFL season.

“I won’t be betting this year because I crossed the line of moderation and into addiction which isn’t any fun at all,” he noted on Twitter. “The money wasn’t ever the issue since our financial security has never been threatened, but I was so distracted I wasn’t able to be present with the ones I love and caused a lot of harm.”

Admitting There’s A Problem

The golfer said betting has affected his relationships with others and that he’s working to “clean up the damage” that he’s done. He offered encouragement to others dealing with similar issues. His wife Amy has been a source of inspiration, Mickelson said.

“Hopefully you won’t have to deal with these difficult moments publicly so others can profit off you like I have,” he said. “But hopefully you WILL have a strong and supportive partner who is willing to help you through being your worst self, and through your worst moments like I have in Amy. She has loved me and supported me through my darkest and most difficult times. I couldn’t have gotten through this without her.”

Seeking Help

This isn’t the first time Mickelson’s wagering has drawn headlines. In 2015, ESPN reported that he transferred $3 million to another party that was part of “an illegal gambling operation which accepted and placed bets on sporting events.”

That intermediary, Gregory Silveira, pleaded guilty to money laundering funds from an unnamed “gambling client” from 2010-13. While not named in court documents, ESPN reported Mickelson was that client. He was never charged with a crime as part of the case.

Considering the revelations in the Walters book, it appears Mickelson is trying to make some serious changes.

“After many years of receiving professional help, not gambling, and being in recovery from my addictions, I’m now able to sit still, be present in the moment and live each day with an inner calm and peace,” he noted. “I still have a lot of cleaning up to do with those I love the most but I’m doing it slowly and as best I can.”

Walters, one of the most successful sports bettors of all time, was convicted of insider trading and sentenced to five years in prison. The sentence was later commuted.

*Photo credit: Wikipedia/Peter Brown