Phil Mickelson isn’t gambling or playing fantasy football this NFL season.
The six-time major champion said Monday in a lengthy social media post that he’s not placing bets on football games this fall as he continues to recover from a gambling addiction.
“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. “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. It affected those I care about in ways I wasn’t aware or could fully understand.
"It’s like a hurricane is going on outside and I’m isolated in a shelter oblivious to what was happening. When I came out there was so much damage to clean up that I just wanted to go back inside and not deal with it.”
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
Mickelson’s post comes about a month after his longtime gambling partner, Billy Walters, published a book in which he alleged that Mickelson wagered more than $1 billion and lost $100 million. In 2011, Mickelson allegedly averaged just shy of nine bets per day and once placed 43 MLB bets in a single day. He allegedly even tried to bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup while he was on the team, something he has denied.
Walters was convicted of insider trading in 2017 and served five years in prison. Mickelson wasn’t charged in that case, but he forfeited almost $1 million in earnings gained through stock tips he received from Walters. Walters was released on home confinement after 31 months in prison, and former President Donald Trump commuted the rest of his sentence. Walters said he and Mickelson had a falling out after Mickelson refused to testify or publicly support him during his case.
Mickelson, 53, has won 45 times in his PGA Tour career and has won just more than $96.5 million — which is the second-most behind only Tiger Woods on the Tour’s career money list. He last won at the PGA Championship in 2021, and he finished in a tie for second at the Masters earlier this year. He missed the cut at the final two major championships of the season.
Mickelson was among the loudest advocates for LIV Golf when it was getting started. He stepped away from golf for a while in 2022 after he made controversial comments about the Saudi Arabian government — which financially backs LIV Golf — despite the country’s human rights abuses, which Mickelson acknowledged. Those comments drew widespread criticism and turned him from one of the more popular players in the sport into one of the most controversial. He later returned and was one of the biggest names to sign with LIV Golf, which reportedly paid him a signing fee of $200 million.
Mickelson thanked his wife in his social media post for supporting him through his addiction and said he’s “back on track to being the person I want to be.”
“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,” he wrote. “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.”