Mickelson Opens Up About Gambling to SI: ‘Reckless and Embarrassing’

Mickelson Opens Up About Gambling to SI: ‘Reckless and Embarrassing’
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

With the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., starting in nine days, golf has been the focal point of the sporting and New York sports betting world for the past 24 hours for several reasons:

  • Golf’s longest day took place on Monday with U.S. Open sectional qualifying.
  • Tiger Woods announced Tuesday he would not play in golf’s third major of the year, needing more time to heal from his injuries suffered in a car crash on Feb. 23, 2021.
  • Phil Mickelson announced Monday he officially will become part of the new and controversial LIV Invitational Series, which starts Friday in London, England.

Mickelson also gave an exclusive interview to Bob Harig of SI.com/Morning Read on Monday via phone, in which he said that he is “excited and energized” to play in all eight LIV events and that he will play in next week’s U.S. Open. The U.S. Golf Association confirmed this Tuesday.

Mickelson also addressed reports that he is joining the new tour because of financial difficulties and excessive gambling habits:

“My gambling got to a point of being reckless and embarrassing,” Mickelson said in an interview posted on SI.com. “I had to address it. And I’ve been addressing it for a number of years. And for hundreds of hours of therapy. I feel good where I’m at there. My family and I are and have been financially secure for some time.

“Gambling has been part of my life ever since I can remember,” he continued. “But about a decade ago is when I would say it became reckless. It’s embarrassing. I don’t like that people know. The fact is, I’ve been dealing with it for some time. (Wife) Amy has been very supportive of it and with me and the process. We’re at place after many years where I feel comfortable with where that is. It isn’t a threat to me or my financial security. It was just a number of poor decisions.’’

When asked about gambling on the course during practice rounds leading up to the start of an event, which he always used as a way to prepare, Mickelson said: “On the golf course, it’s creating competition. But it’s the anxiety, the other things that come across with gambling off the course and addiction off the course that I really needed to address.”

For any New York resident seeking advice and help, the Empire State has been earnest in addressing problem gambling and addiction by increasing public awareness and connecting those adversely affected by gambling with services that can help them.

For more information, visit nyproblemgamblinghelp.org.

Must be 21+ to participate & present in NY. Gambling problem? Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369). Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

LIV Tour: Where It Stands on Betting

Westgate Sportsbook in Las Vegas currently has odds on the London event.

Mickelson is listed at 30-1. The top three favorites posted by Westgate are: Dustin Johnson (5-1), Talor Gooch (9-1) and Louis Oosthuizen (10-1).

Reached by EmpireStakes.com yesterday, DraftKings said it is working on odds and has been given clearance for betting in these states only: Ilinois, Oregon, Connecticut, Arizona and Wyoming. DraftKings also is clear in Ontario.

USGA Gives Green Light

The USGA confirmed Tuesday that all players who qualified for the U.S. Open will be eligible to play next week even if they joined LIV Golf:

Here is the USGA statement:

“We pride ourselves in being the most open championship in the world and the players who have earned the right to compete in this year’s championship, both via exemption and qualifying, will have the opportunity to do so. Our field criteria were set prior to entries opening earlier this year and it’s not appropriate, nor fair to competitors, to change criteria once established.

“Regarding players who may choose to play in London this week, we simply asked ourselves this question -- should a player who had earned his way into the 2022 U.S. Open, via our published field criteria, be pulled out of the field as a result of his decision to play in another event? And we ultimately decided that they should not.

“Our decision regarding our field for the 2022 U.S. Open should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organizing entity, nor supportive of any individual player actions or comments. Rather, it is simply a response to whether or not the USGA views playing in an alternative event, without the consent of their home tour, an offense that should disqualify them for the U.S. Open.”



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: