The Baffling Amount Of Money Phil Mickelson Lost Gambling

Phil Mickelson is one of the greatest golfers of all-time, and one of the most successful. His net worth is estimated at $300 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. In addition to his exploits on the green, the man known as "Lefty" has developed a reputation as someone who likes to spice up a golf round with a wager or two.

While shooting a practice round during the 2014 Masters Tournament, Mickelson placed a $1 dollar bet with a nearby fan who thought the golfer would miss a short shot, per SB Nation. When Mickelson failed to convert the putt, he was reportedly forced to borrow a dollar from a caddy because he was not carrying any small bills. Over the years, Mickelson was known to bet much higher amounts when playing against fellow pros. Gearing up for the British Open in 2010, Mickelson played a round with golf pro Nick Watney. Mickelson suggested they play for $1,000, and Watney reluctantly agreed. Mickelson won the round, and after Watney handed over American cash, Mickelson protested. "This is Britain," Mickelson said, according to a 2015 ESPN article. "I need pounds," the former PGA Tour champ insisted.

In 2016, golfer Ryan Ruffels — then 17 years old — recalled a secret match with Mickelson where he took $5,000 off the veteran pro, per The Sydney Morning Herald. However, that couple grand was only a fraction of the gambling losses Mickelson reportedly tallied over the years.

Phil Mickelson's exorbitant spending

Tales of Phil Mickelson's gambling exploits had been told over the years, but a biography on the golfing legend reported that the amount he lost in the early 2010s was astronomical. "According to a source with direct access to the documents, Mickelson had gambling losses totaling more than $40 million in the four-year period (2010–14)," Alan Shipnuck wrote in his book "Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar," via an excerpt on The Fire Pit Collective. According to the author, those numbers were collected when Mickelson was audited during an insider trading case

In the biography, Shipnuck speculated that despite making around $40 million a year, Mickelson could have been blowing through his earnings. "Throw in all the other expenses of a big life — like an actual T. Rex skull for a birthday present — and that leaves, what, $10 million?" Shipnuck wrote. The biographer also recalled an anecdote from fellow golf writer John Hopkins, who once claimed to see Mickelson make a bunch of online wagers on college basketball. "Over 20 minutes he must've made 50 bets," Hawkins said. "It was like he was showing off."

Apparently, even when the golfer won his gambling bets, he still occasionally lost. Portions of a transcription from a 2007 court case involving a reputed mobster were published by The Detroit News in 2021. High-profile gambler "Dandy" Don DeSeranno once lost a $500,000 bet to Mickelson that he could not afford to pay.