Phil Mickelson Bet More Than $1 Billion on Sports, Book Claims

Phil Mickelson has allegedly wagered more than $1 billion on sports across the last three decades, according to famed sports gambler Billy Walters.

“Phil liked to gamble as much as anyone I’ve ever met. Frankly, given Phil’s annual income and net worth at the time, I had no problems with his betting,” Walters, 77, claimed in his upcoming memoir, Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk, which was excerpted by The Fire Pit Collective on Thursday, August 10. “And still don’t. He’s a big-time gambler, and big-time gamblers make big bets. It’s his money to spend how he wants.”

Walters — who met the pro golfer, now 53, at a tournament in 2006 — claimed that Mickelson propositioned him about a gambling partnership two years later. Walters was only looking for a partner if “someone has access to places I can’t bet” or “places where they can bet more money than me.” Mickelson allegedly fulfilled both requirements — and the duo began a mutual gambling arrangement that lasted for five years.

“We became what I thought were friends. If you’ve ever had a golf buddy, you know what I’m talking about,” Walters penned. “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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Of course, not all bets placed win — and Walters and Mickelson were not immune to suffering losses. The Gambler author even speculated that Mickelson has lost close to $100 million. “In all, he wagered a total of more than $1 billion during the past three decades,” Walters claimed in the book, noting he himself has gambled even more than that.

Walters went on to recall, Mickelson — who allegedly told Walters he had “two offshore” bank accounts to service the gambling sums — once worried Walters with a particularly large bet.

“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,” Walters alleged in the passage. “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.”

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He continued: “‘Have you lost your f—king 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.’”

While Walters turned down Mickelson’s alleged offer, he admitted that he has “no idea” if his former pal placed the bet elsewhere. (The U.S. team ultimately lost the tournament by one point to the European athletes.)

Mickelson, who has not addressed Walters’ memoir claims, previously landed in hot water for his interactions with Walters. The Securities and Exchange Commission named Mickelson in a May 2016 federal lawsuit, claiming the pro athlete made nearly $1 million after purchasing stock on an insider trading tip from Walters. Mickelson’s attorney said in a statement at the time that his client made an agreement with the SEC to return the entire sum.

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“Phil has not been charged with insider trading,” the lawyer told USA Today Sports in a statement. “Phil was an innocent bystander to alleged wrongdoing by others that he was unaware of. Phil is innocent of any wrongdoing.”

Walters is also set to discuss his side of the legal battle in the Gamblers book.

“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,” he further claimed in Thursday’s excerpt. “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.”

Walters concluded: “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.”

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Walters was released from prison in May 2020 to serve the remainder of his five-year sentence from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. Former president Donald Trump commuted Walters’ sentence in 2021 after four years.

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