‘He’s Really Self-Imploded’ - Former Ryder Cup Captain On ‘Disappointing’ Phil Mickelson

Lanny Wadkins was highly critical of Mickelson in the wake of fresh new gambling allegations relating to the 2012 Ryder Cup

Phil Mickelson at the first tee during the final round of LIV Golf Bedminster
Phil Mickelson has attracted criticism after his latest gambling revelations
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Ryder Cup captain Lanny Wadkins labelled Phil Mickelson one of the most ‘disappointing figures in golf’ and suggested he will likely never captain a US Ryder Cup team in the wake of his latest gambling allegations. 

Mickelson’s troubles with gambling addiction have been brought back to the surface recently after an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released book by professional gambler Billy Walters made some strong allegations about the six-time Major champion’s historical gambling.

In the book, Walters alleges that Mickelson bet nearly $1 billion on sport over the years, racking up losses of around $100 million, including once asking about wagering $400,000 on the outcome of the 2012 Ryder Cup in which he featured.

Such revelations have brought Mickelson back under the spotlight, with Wadkins one of many who were highly critical. 

“[It’s] very disconcerting,” he said speaking on Golf Channel. “I don’t know if there has ever been a more disappointing figure in golf than Phil Mickelson, seeing what’s transpired with him over the last 10-plus years. 

“He was the beloved figure for a long time. We all marvelled at the way he could play. But nothing looks kosher about what he’s doing these days.”

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Wadkins won the PGA Championship in 1977 and was captain of the US Ryder Cup team in 1995 when Europe won for just the second time on US soil at Oak Hill Country Club. That is not an honour he believes will be bestowed upon Mickelson now, however.

“He probably would’ve been a two-time captain,” Wadkins added. “Now he’s not going to be involved. It’s really kind of a shame. He’s really self-imploded, and he just continues to do it at every turn.

“It’s disappointing and sad. It’s sad that we have people in our game that think they’re bigger than the game, and obviously Phil thinks he’s bigger.”

Mickelson has denied Walters’ allegation that he had bet on the Ryder Cup. On social media, the 53-year-old wrote: “I have 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. 

“I have also been very open about my gambling addiction. I have previously conveyed my remorse, took responsibility, have gotten help, have been fully committed to therapy that has positively impacted me and I feel good about where I am now.”

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He has covered a variety of sports and has also worked as a freelance journalist for The Independent and Stats Perform. An avid, albeit distinctly average golfer, he is a member of Nevill Golf Club. One of his best golfing moment was winning a 100/1 bet on Seamus Power and Thomas Detry to finish first and second at the 2022 Bermuda Championship.