Phil Mickelson says he will steer clear of sports betting sites this NFL season, a public pledge that comes in the wake of a book alleging the golf great wagered more than $1 billion over the past three decades.
Mickelson, the multiple major champion, posted on Monday that he will avoid wagering on football after becoming addicted and spending years receiving professional help and in recovery.
“I won't be betting this year because I crossed the line of moderation and into addiction which isn’t any fun at all,” Mickelson said in a statement on social media. “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. This lack of presence has been so hurtful. ‘You’re here but you’re not with us,’ is something I’ve been told often throughout my addiction.”
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
Lefty added that after “many years of receiving professional help, not gambling, and being in recovery from my addictions,” he’s can achieve that presence.
“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,” Mickelson wrote.
The remarks from Mickelson come about a month after the release of famous gambler Billy Walters’ autobiography, in which Walters alleged Mickelson wagered hundreds of millions of dollars on sports and even tried to bet on a Ryder Cup in which he played. Mickelson has denied he ever bet on the Ryder Cup but has talked publicly in the past about his gambling issues.
Walters, who says he formed a betting partnership with Mickelson for a time, is not mentioned in Mickelson’s statement. One section does take aim at “enablers,” although Walters claims in his book that Mickelson approached him.
'A strong and supportive partner'
The partnership between the two men reportedly ended amid an alleged insider-trading investigation that resulted in Walters going to jail in 2017 for several years following a trial in which Mickelson purportedly refused to testify.
“If you ever cross the line of moderation and enter into addiction, hopefully you won’t confuse your enablers as friends like I did,” Mickelson said in his statement on Monday. “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 [his wife, Amy].”