Star golfer Phil Mickelson has lost upwards of $40 million while gambling, according to an author who is publishing a biography of the San Diego native later this month.
Alan Shipnuck, who has followed Mickelson’s career for nearly 30 years, will release Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar through Simon & Schuster on May 17.
In the book, he claims that a source who had access to the results of a government forensic examination of Mickelson’s finances told him that the golfer’s gambling losses exceeded $40 million from 2010-14.
Investigators focused on those years as part of an insider trading investigation that targeted gambler Billy Walters, who was convicted, but ultimately saw his sentence commuted by former President Donald Trump in one of his last acts before leaving office, ESPN reported.
The gambling allegations by Shipnuck appeared in an excerpt, published Thursday, from the upcoming book. The author also said a fellow golf writer told him that he once watched Mickelson use his cell phone to make multiple bets on college basketball games.
“Over 20 minutes he must’ve made 50 bets,” Shipnuck quoted the writer as saying. “It was like he was showing off.”
The same site, FirePitCollective.com, shared another scoop from the author in February, outlining Mickelson’s support of a Saudi Arabia-funded potential rival to the PGA Tour.
In an interview with Shipnuck, the golfer had noted the Saudi government’s “horrible record” on human rights, including the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and threats to the LGBT community.
Yet he also expressed disdain for how the PGA Tour operates, and hoped to promote the new venture either as a viable rival or to use it as leverage to force change with tour officials.
Though Mickelson accused Shipnuck of using off-the-record comments – an allegation the author denied – within five days, dogged by criticism and with fellow golfers pledging support for the PGA – he backpedaled.
In a statement issued via social media on Feb. 22, he said he would take “time away” from the sport. He added that “the bigger issue is that I used words that I sincerely regret that do not reflect my true feelings or intentions.”
He has not posted to his Twitter or Instagram accounts since. The Fire Pit Collective, though, via its own Twitter account, posted video last week of Mickelson golfing locally, at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
Mickelson has won 45 tournaments in three decades on the tour, six major titles and nearly $100 million in prize money. He logged his last big victory almost one year ago at the PGA Championship.