On Thursday, the Fire Pit Collective released an excerpt from Billy Walters’ new book, Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk, revealing some bombshells about Phil Mickelson’s gambling habits.
According to Walters, Phil Mickelson has allegedly lost $100 million over the past three decades—not the previously reported $40 million—and has wagered close to $1 billion during that same period.
Walters, an avid gambler and bookmaker in his own right, noted that Mickelson’s accounts were “as large as anyone [he had] seen.”
So much so that Mickelson suggested to Walters that he place a substantial wager on himself and his team to win the 2012 Ryder Cup.
“[Mickelson] was so confident that he asked me to place a $400,000 wager for him on the U.S. team to win,” Walters wrote. “I could not believe what I was hearing.”
MEDINAH, Ill. — Phil Mickelson of the USA reacts to a shot on the 17th hole during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
“‘Have you lost your f***ing mind?’ I told him. ‘Don’t you remember what happened to Pete Rose? 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.”
Whether Mickelson followed through with that bet is unknown, as he did not place it with Walters. Hopefully, for Mickelson’s sake, he did not, as the Europeans stormed back from a 10-to-6 deficit on Sunday to reclaim the cup.
Walters detailed plenty of other eye-popping statistics regarding Mickelson’s betting habits.
According to two sources close to Walters, Mickelson would bet $20,000 on a five-game, long-shot parlay for regular season NBA games.
He was an addict, with no better example coming on June 22, 2011, when he allegedly made 43 wagers on major-league baseball games. There were 16 games that day, with the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds playing a doubleheader.
Mickelson lost $143,500.
Interestingly, Rory McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open three days prior with a record score of 16-under. Mickelson finished in a tie for 54th that week.
A month later, Mickelson tied for second at The Open, so his losses did not impact his play too much.
Nevertheless, according to the excerpt, Mickelson’s gambling habits and his associations with Walters affected Walters’ personal and legal life.
“Phil Mickelson, one of the most famous people in the world and a man I once considered a friend, refused to tell a simple truth that he shared with the FBI and could have kept me out of prison,” Walters wrote. “I never told him I had inside information about stocks, and he knows it. All Phil had to do was publicly say it. He refused.”
“The outcome cost me my freedom, tens of millions of dollars, and a heartbreak I still struggle with daily. While I was in prison, my daughter committed suicide – I still believe I could have saved her if I’d been on the outside.”
Walters’ book is available for purchase on Aug. 23 and will likely reveal much more about his and Mickelson’s complicated history.
Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.
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