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Phil Mickelson Reportedly Had $40 Million In Gambling Losses From 2010-14

Phil Mickelson has had quite the year, starting back in last May when he stunned the golf world by winning the PGA Championship at 50 years old and running to now, when he’s found himself in a pseudo-suspension/self-imposed exile from the PGA Tour over his comments regarding his role in starting the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series.

Mickelson told Alan Shipnuck of the Fire Pit Collective, who is also writing a biography on Mickelson, that he wanted to disrupt the PGA Tour, calling out the Tour’s greed, with the Saudi golf venture, while also noting how “scary” the people he was getting in bed with were. It was all incredibly Phil, and he’s not been seen at a PGA Tour event since, and his status for defending his PGA title later this month remains in doubt.

While Mickelson attempted to push the idea that he was helping launch the Saudi-backed series to disrupt the PGA Tour and push them to support players more, it was hard to see it as anything more than a cash grab. On Thursday, Shipnuck released another story featuring information excerpted from his book that went into detail on why Mickelson was seemingly in such a hurry to make that grab, noting that the well-known gambler has been piling up losses in the eight-figure a year range.

The massive scale of Mickelson’s gambling losses has never before been made public, but, as noted in the book, during the Billy Walters insider trading investigation, government auditors conducted a forensic examination of Phil’s finances. According to a source with direct access to the documents, Mickelson had gambling losses totaling more than $40 million in the four-year period (2010–14) that was scrutinized. In those prime earning years, his income was estimated to be just north of $40 million a year. That’s an obscene amount of money, but once he paid his taxes (including the California tariffs he publicly railed against), he was left with, what, low-20s? Then he had to cover his plane and mansion(s), plus his agent, caddie, pilots, chef, personal trainer, swing coaches and sundry others. Throw in all the other expenses of a big life—like an actual T. Rex skull for a birthday present—and that leaves, what, $10 million? Per the government audit, that’s roughly how much Mickelson averaged in annual gambling losses. (And we don’t know what we don’t know.) In other words, it’s quite possible he was barely breaking even, or maybe even in the red. And Mickelson’s income dropped considerably during his winless years from 2014 to ’17.

Mickelson’s love of gambling has been well known in golf circles for some time — his practice round cash games are legendary and he thoroughly enjoyed the side-bet element of his involvement in The Match with Tiger Woods. However, it appears Mickelson wasn’t just an extremely rich guy blowing expendable funds, but possibly going into the red with his wagering, and for a golfer no longer raking in cash from tournament winnings (and now facing some lost sponsorships), the guaranteed purse structure of the LIV Golf Invitational series (plus appearance fees) makes sense as to why he’d be jumping at the opportunity and trying to bring people with him.