Mon, Sep 18, 2023 3:47 PM
By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
Phil Mickelson won't be betting on football this year — much less the Ryder Cup — saying in a lengthy social media post Monday that he previously crossed the line from moderation into addiction and “it wasn't any fun.”
“The money wasn't ever the issue since our financial security has never been threatened, but I was so distracted I wasn't able to be present with the ones I love and caused a lot of harm,” Mickelson wrote in the post.
His public admission of a gambling addiction comes more than a month after renowned gambler Billy Walters wrote in his book that Mickelson wagered more than $1 billion over the last three decades and wanted to place a $400,000 bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup while playing for Team USA.
Mickelson denied ever betting on the Ryder Cup, which starts next week outside Rome.
Mickelson has been relatively quiet since Walters did a media tour in August for his book, "Gambler: Secrets from a Life of Risk.” He returns to competition this week with Saudi-backed LIV Golf outside Chicago.
Walters said he formed a gambling partnership with Mickelson in 2008 that lasted until 2014.
Two years later, Walters was indicted in an insider trading case that partly involved stock tips that prosecutors alleged he passed to Mickelson. Walters says he never gave Mickelson inside information and could have avoided prison if Mickelson had only testified on his behalf.
Mickelson appears to reference Walters in his post.
“If you ever cross the line of moderation and enter into addiction, hopefully you won’t confuse your enablers as friends like I did,” he wrote. "Hopefully you won’t have to deal with these difficult moments publicly so others can profit off you like I have.
“But hopefully you WILL have a strong and supportive partner who is willing to help you through being your worst self, and through your worst moments like I have in Amy,” he said of his wife.
“I couldn’t have gotten through this without her. I’m so grateful for her strength in helping us get through the many challenges I’ve created for us. ... Because of her love, support and commitment, I’m back on track to being the person I want to be.”
Mickelson has previously talked about his gambling habits and said he sought help. In his post, he said his addiction led to not being present for those he loved.
“It affected those I care about in ways I wasn’t aware or could fully understand,” he wrote. “It’s like a hurricane is going on outside and I’m isolated in a shelter oblivious to what was happening. When I came out there was so much damage to clean up that I just wanted to go back inside and not deal with it.”
Mickelson, a six-time major champion who captured the 2021 PGA Championship at age 50, will miss the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 as a player or a vice captain. He has three more tournaments this year with LIV Golf.
“After many years of receiving professional help, not gambling, and being in recovery from my addictions, I’m now able to sit still, be present in the moment and live each day with an inner calm and peace,” Mickelson wrote. “I still have a lot of cleaning up to do with those I love the most but I’m doing it slowly and as best I can.”
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