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Six-time major champion and LIV Golf star Phil Mickelson is alleged to have gambled more than £786 million ($1bn) according to his former betting partner Billy Walters. Mickelson has made no secret of his gambling exploits, revealing to Sports Illustrated back in 2022 that it became ‘reckless’.
One man the American star had partnered with in the betting industry is Walters, and the experienced gambler has opened up on his relationship with Mickelson. The 77-year-old revealed all in his soon-to-be-published book “Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk”.
In an extract per Golf Digest, Walters – who was convicted of insider trading in 2017 – discusses he first came into contact with Mickelson at the 2006 Pebble Beach Pro-Am, before officially becoming partners in the Pro-Am at the Wachovia Championship two years later. Outlining their agreement, Walters wrote: “More than once throughout our betting partnership, I found myself compelled to offer some quiet counsel to help Phil avoid some of the same issues that plagued me as a younger man.
“I want to make clear that I’m the last person to criticise someone for an addiction to anything. From the start, our betting agreement—one we verbally negotiated—called for us to split everything fifty-fifty. Phil put up half the money; I put up the other half. That way, we shared an equal amount of risk and reward.”
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Later on, the American entrepreneur went on to discuss the sheer extent of their wins and losses, with Mickelson alleged to have lost ‘close to $100 million’ and wagered a staggering $1 billion. Walters revealed: “Based on our relationship and what I’ve since learned from others, Phil’s gambling losses approached not $40 million as has been previously reported, but much closer to $100 million.
“In all, he wagered a total of more than $1 billion during the past three decades. The only other person I know who surpassed that kind of volume is me. Remarkably Walters also alleged that Mickelson asked him to wager on the 2012 Ryder Cup on Medinah, an event the LIV star was competing in. “Phil called me from Medinah Country Club just outside Chicago, site of the 39th Ryder Cup matches between the United States and Europe,” he wrote.
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“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****** 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.” Walters then added he was unsure if Mickelson ever went on to place the bet.
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