Rory McIlroy Shades Phil Mickelson Over Golf Gambling Allegations


Rory McIlroy Shades Fellow Golfer Phil Mickelson Over Gambling Allegations

Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy
Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Shutterstock

After Phil Mickelson was accused of seeking to bet on the outcome of the 2012 Ryder Cup, fellow golfer Rory McIlroy has weighed in.

“At least he can bet on the Ryder Cup this year because he won’t be a part of it,” McIlroy, 34, quipped to ESPN reporters on Thursday, August 10, after completing his first round at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

McIlroy, for his part, qualified to join the European cohort at this year’s Ryder Cup in September. Mickelson, 53, did not make the cut on the American team.

Mickelson made headlines on Thursday after notorious sports gambler Billy Walters claimed that the pair were betting partners for five years.

“Phil liked to gamble as much as anyone I’ve ever met. Frankly, given Phil’s annual income and net worth at the time, I had no problems with his betting,” Walters, 77, alleged in his upcoming memoir, Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk, which was excerpted by The Fire Pit Collective. “And still don’t. He’s a big-time gambler, and big-time gamblers make big bets. It’s his money to spend how he wants.”

Walters — who claimed that Mickelson has gambled more than $1 billion over the last three decades and lost $100 million — further detailed one particular bet that worried him.

“In late September 2012, Phil called me from Medinah Country Club just outside Chicago, site of the 39th Ryder Cup matches between the United States and Europe. He was feeling supremely confident that the American squad led by Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Phil himself was about to reclaim the Cup from the Euros,” Walters wrote. “He was so confident that he asked me to place a $400,000 wager for him on the U.S. team to win. I could not believe what I was hearing.”

Walters allegedly told Mickelson that he “lost [his] f—king mind” over the wager, since former Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose had been banned from baseball for betting on his own team. Walters then claimed that he wanted “no part” in such a bet, noting he has “no idea” if Mickelson placed the bet elsewhere. (The U.S. team ultimately lost the tournament to the European athletes by one point.)

Mickelson, however, has since denied the accusations. “I never bet on the Ryder Cup,” he said in a statement to Golf Digest. “While it is well known that I always enjoy a friendly wager on the course, I would never undermine the integrity of the game.”

Mickelson 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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