Phil Mickelson has denied an allegation made by Billy Walters that Lefty attempted to place a $400,000 wager on the U.S. team to win the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club. An excerpt published by Golf Digest from Walters’ “Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk” outlines Mickelson’s betting habits and includes the allegation that Mickelson made a wager on the team event of which he was a participant.
After first choosing to avoid reporters at LIV Golf’s event at Trump National Bedminster, Mickelson broke his silence and pleaded his innocence in the matter.
“I never bet on the Ryder Cup,” Mickelson wrote in a statement. “While it is well known that I always enjoy a friendly wager on the course, I would never undermine the integrity of the game. I have also been very open about my gambling addiction. I have previously conveyed my remorse, took responsibility, have gotten help, have been fully committed to therapy that has positively impacted me and I feel good about where I am now.”
The excerpt claims Walters and Mickelson entered a sports wagering partnership in May 2008 with Mickelson placing bets through various offshore accounts. The six-time major champion would wager on baseball, football and basketball at both the professional and college levels. However, Walters alleges Mickelson wanted to place a hefty sum in September 2012 for the Ryder Cup while Mickelson was a member of the U.S. team:
In late September 2012, Phil called me from Medinah Country Club just outside Chicago, site of the 39th Ryder Cup matches between the United States and Europe. He was feeling supremely confident that the American squad led by Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Phil himself was about to reclaim the Cup from the Euros. He was so confident that he asked me to place a $400,000 wager for him on the U.S. team to win. I could not believe what I was hearing.
“Have you lost your f—ing mind?” I told him. “Don’t you remember what happened to Pete Rose?” The former Cincinnati Reds manager was banned from baseball for betting on his own team. “You’re seen as a modern-day Arnold Palmer” I added. “You’d risk all that for this? I want no part of it.”
Alright, alright, he replied.
The U.S. team ultimately lost the 2012 Ryder Cup 14.5 to 13.5 after taking a substantial 10 to 6 lead into Sunday singles. Mickelson was among those players to lose his singles match as Justin Rose overcame a late deficit by winning the last two holes to flip the match and defeat Mickelson 1 UP.
Whether Mickelson actually placed this wager remains unknown, and his partnership with Walters came to an end just two years later in 2014.
“My gambling got to a point of being reckless and embarrassing. I had to address it,” Mickelson told Sports Illustrated last summer. “And I’ve been addressing it for a number of years. And for hundreds of hours of therapy. I feel good where I’m at there. My family and I are and have been financially secure for some time.”