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Phil Mickelson Unauthorized Biography Claims Lefty Lost $40M Gambling

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Posted on: May 6, 2022, 07:46h. 

Last updated on: May 6, 2022, 02:30h.

Phil Mickelson reportedly lost $40 million gambling between 2010 and 2014. That’s according to a new excerpt released this week from golf writer Alan Shipnuck’s forthcoming unauthorized biography on the World Golf Hall of Fame member.

Phil Mickelson gambling PGA Tour
Phil Mickelson reportedly lost $40 million gambling during a five-year span. It’s one of many claimed revelations in a forthcoming unauthorized biography of the superstar golfer. (Image: Getty)

Shipnuck’s book — Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar — claims Mickelson’s excessive gambling rendered him nearly incomeless during the five-year span.

According to a source with direct access to the documents, Mickelson had gambling losses totaling more than $40 million in 2010-14 that was scrutinized. In those prime earning years, his income was estimated to be just north of $40 million a year.

That’s an obscene amount of money. But once he paid his taxes (including the California tariffs he publicly railed against), he was left with, what, low-20s? Then he had to cover his plane and mansion(s), plus his agent, caddie, pilots, chef, personal trainer, swing coaches, and sundry others.

Throw in all the other expenses of a big life — like an actual T. Rex skull for a birthday present — and that leaves, what, $10 million? Per the government audit, that’s roughly how much Mickelson averaged in annual gambling losses.

In other words, it’s quite possible he was barely breaking even, or maybe even in the red. And Mickelson’s income dropped considerably during his winless years from 2014 to ’17,” Shipnuck wrote in the excerpt.

Mickelson has disappeared from the public since February. He remains listed as an entrant for the PGA Championship later this month. His odds of winning are around 125/1 to 150/1.

Possible Explanation for Insider Trading Case

Prior to Phil Mickelson’s publicity nightmare last year after he expressed criticism for the PGA Tour and seemed to suggest he would leave the circuit for the Saudi Golf League — a forthcoming professional golf tour backed by the controversial Saudi government and fronted by Greg Norman — Lefty was one of golf’s most popular superstars.

His 45 wins on the PGA Tour, highlighted by six majors and three Masters green jackets, resulted in his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

Mickelson’s career earnings on the PGA Tour are nearly $95 million. But that number pales in comparison with the amount of income he’s received through sponsorship deals. Forbes estimates that Mickelson has earned about $800 million during his storied career.

Mickelson’s robust wealth is why many questioned how he became engulfed in a high-profile insider trading scandal. The case resulted in famed Las Vegas sports bettor Billy Walters being found guilty in 2017 of using non-public information supplied to him by then-Dean Foods Chairman Thomas Davis. The information allowed him to illegally gain $32 million in stock profits.

The Dean Foods case involved Mickelson. Federal securities regulators alleged that Walters tipped off Mickelson regarding the Dean Foods insider info, and the golfer used the knowledge to net nearly $1 million. Mickelson surrendered the profits to the SEC but was never charged with wrongdoing.

Known Gambler

Mickelson has long been known to enjoy a casual bet amongst friends. Reports have for years circulated that Mickelson routinely engaged in large bets with fellow Tour players during practice rounds — and likely during competitive rounds, too.

Though the PGA Tour prohibits such betting, it’s unknown if the Tour has penalized Mickelson in the past for the activity. The PGA Tour keeps disciplinary matters private.


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