The 51-year-old isn't happy about the "opportunistic" story that hit the headlines

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Mickelson Unlikely To Return To Detroit After Old Gambling Story Resurfaces

For Phil Mickelson, playing in Detroit at the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic was supposed to be as much about supporting a community-driven cause that he believes in as it was about golf.

In years gone by, the record-breaking PGA champion would normally have skipped this week, but decided to tee it up in the hope that his presence might elevate the tournament, having been impressed by what the lead sponsor has been able to achieve. 

But, sadly, that good-feeling was quickly soured after a local reporter, Rob Snell, published an old gambling story from Mickelson’s past.

It relates to the 2007 racketeering trial against Jack Giacalone, during which it was revealed that Mickelson and some friends were apparently stiffed out of half a million dollars by a mob-connected bookie from Michigan named Don Deseranno. 

And after posting a first-round 69, the 51-year-old responded. 

“So it was a lot for me to play here because I had won the PGA and then I prepared for the US Open – put a lot of time and effort into the U.S. Open,” Mickelson said. 

“I played last week at Hartford and I’m going to be heading over to the British soon. So to play here was — I wouldn’t normally do it. I usually take a couple weeks off after the US Open. 

“But I really liked what Rocket Mortgage has really tried to do with this community and get involved and I wanted to — I felt like as the PGA champion, I would be able to bring some value and maybe help the tournament out. 

“I feel that Rob Snell made an article this week that was very opportunistic, selfish and irresponsible. 

“I was looking at some ways that my foundation might be able to get involved. When you have a divisive voice like that, you can’t bring people together, it’s very hard to bring people together, and that needs to change because the people here are great. 

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“But when that’s your voice, it’s hard for me or somebody to come in and bring other people and bring other entities involved to help out because you’re constantly being torn down as opposed to brought together and built up.”

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Although there is no objection to the actual details contained within, it’s not exactly a story that reflects too favourably on the six-time major champion, and it’s for that reason that he’s unlikely to return to the state of Detroit in a hurry.

“It was so much effort for me to be here and to have that type of unnecessary attack,” he added. “Not like I care, it happened 20-something years ago, it’s just the lack of appreciation. 

“Yeah, I don’t see that happening. I don’t see me coming back. Not that I don’t love the people here and they haven’t been great, but not with that type of thing happening.”

Unsurprisingly, the debacle has caused quite the stir on social media, with many of Lefty’s fans and Detroit dwellers taking to Twitter to voice their frustration.

And while they’ve got him, they’ll be hoping Phil can use this as fuel for the fire and lift the title this week.

You wouldn’t bet against him.