Phil Mickelson said in a long social media post Monday that he stopped gambling after crossing the line from moderation to addiction.
“Most of you will enjoy this football season in moderation while having a lot of fun and entertainment,” Mickelson wrote. “Fantasy leagues will offer banter between friends and the money won or lost on bets will not affect you. This year I won’t bet.
“Money was never the issue as our financial security was never threatened, but I was so distracted that I couldn’t be present with my loved ones and caused a lot of damage.”
His public admission of gambling addiction comes more than a month after renowned gambler Billy Walters he wrote in his book that Mickelson bet more than $1 billion over the past three decades and wanted to place a $400,000 bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup while playing for Team USA.
Mickelson denied ever betting on the Ryder Cup, which begins next week outside Rome.
Mickelson has been relatively quiet since Walters’ comments became public. Mickelson returns to competition this week with Saudi-backed LIV Golf outside Chicago.
Walters said he formed a gaming partnership with Mickelson in 2008 that lasted until 2014.
Two years later, Walters was charged in an insider trading case that in part involved stock information that prosecutors alleged he passed to Mickelson. Walters says he never gave Mickelson inside information and could have avoided prison if Mickelson had testified on his behalf.
Mickelson appears to reference Walters in his post.
“If you ever cross the line of moderation and fall into addiction, hopefully you won’t mistake your enablers for friends like I did,” he wrote. “Hopefully you don’t have to publicly deal with these difficult times so that others can take advantage of you like I did.
“But hopefully you’ll have a strong, supportive partner who’s willing to help you when you’re your worst self and in your worst moments, like I had in Amy,” he said of his wife.
“I couldn’t have gotten through this without her. “I am so grateful for your strength in helping us overcome the many challenges I have created for us… Thanks to your love, support and commitment, I am back on track to being the person I want to be.”
Mickelson previously spoke out about his gambling habits and said he sought help. In his post, he said his addiction led him to not be present for his loved ones.
“It affected my loved ones in ways I was not aware of or could not fully understand,” he wrote. “It’s as if there was a hurricane outside and I was 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.”
Mickelson, a six-time major champion who won the 2021 PGA Championship at the age of 50He will miss the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 as a player or as vice-captain. He has three more tournaments this year with LIV Golf.
“After many years of receiving professional help, not gambling, and recovering from my addictions, I can now sit still, be present in the moment, and live each day with calm and inner peace,” Mickelson wrote. “I still have a lot to clean up with those I love most but I am doing it little by little and the best I can.”