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LIV Golf player Phil Mickelson has opened up about his gambling addiction.
The 53-year-old wrote a lengthy post on X (formerly Twitter) addressing his well-publicised issues with gambling to coincide with the new NFL season.
Lefty began: “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 into addiction which isn’t any fun at all."
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…September 18, 2023
An excerpt from a book by professional gambler Billy Walters recently alleged that Mickelson had gambled $1bn. However, Mickelson stressed that his addiction didn’t cause financial difficulties. He continued: “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.”
Mickelson also suggested some people were a negative influence on him, and thanked his wife, Amy, for her support. 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.
“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 Amy. She has loved me and supported me through my darkest and most difficult times. 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."
Mickelson also revealed that, while he still has work to do, his recovery from his addiction is progressing well. He continued: “After many years of receiving professional help, not gambling, and being in recovery from my addictions, I’m now able to sit still, be present in the moment and live each day with an inner calm and peace.
“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.
“This football season and beyond, enjoy yourself with moderation so it doesn’t detract from your ability to be present. In my experience, the moments with the ones you love will be far more remembered than any bet you win or fantasy league triumph.”
Last year, Alan Shipnuck released a biography of Mickelson, Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar, which claimed he had accrued gambling losses of $40m.
Then, later in 2022, Mickelson opened up on what he described as his “reckless" and "embarrassing" gambling addiction. He said at the time: “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.”
Walters's book also alleged Mickelson had tried to bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup, which he played in. However, he responded saying he had "never bet on the Ryder Cup" and continued: “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.”
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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