Pro-golfer Phil Mickelson recently owned up to his gambling addiction after it was rumored he lost more than $1 billion over the last three decades. The three-time Masters champ opened up about the struggle in a lengthy post to X, formerly known as Twitter.
He wrote, “Most of you will enjoy this football season with moderation while having lots of fun and entertainment. The fantasy leagues will provide banter amongst friends, and money won or lost betting won’t affect you. I won’t be betting this year.” The 53-year-old explained that his addiction never left him financially destitute, but he was emotionally unavailable to those for whom he cared most.
He wrote that the bad habit left him so distracted that he couldn’t present with the ones he loved and caused much harm. Mickelson’s admission comes a little over a month after gambler Billy Walters shared in his book that Mickelson has bet north of $1 billion over the last 30 years, including allegedly wanting to put a $400,000 bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup while playing for Team USA. Mickelson denied the latter allegation.
He responded via a statement to Golf Digest, saying, “I never bet on the Ryder Cup. While it is well known that I always enjoy a friendly wager on the course, I would never undermine the integrity of the game.” Now in recovery, Mickelson credits his wife Amy for being a “strong and supportive partner” as he works to handle his addiction. He also warned against those who turn to those they think are friends but, in reality, are just enabling destructive behaviors.
Most of you will enjoy this football season with moderation while having lots of fun and entertainment. The fantasy leagues will provide banter amongst friends and money won or lost betting won’t affect you. I wont be betting this year because I crossed the line of moderation and…
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) September 18, 2023
He wrote, “If you ever cross the line of moderation and enter into addiction, hopefully, you won’t confuse your enablers as friends like I did. Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with these difficult moments publicly so others can profit off you like I have.” Mickelson continued, “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. She has loved me and supported me through my darkest and most difficult times.”
The golfer added, “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.” Going through counseling and saying “no” to gambling, Mickelson explained, has allowed him the freedom “to sit still, be present in the moment and live each day with an inner calm and peace.”
He 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.” Phil Mickelson should be commended for coming clean about his gambling addiction and attempting to repair relationships with his loved ones. Hopefully, Mickelson’s admission will help others through their addiction troubles.