For years, the stories and rumors of Phil Mickelson's gambling exploits became legend. What started as whispers became full-throated tales, finally exploding onto the pages of Billy Walters' book, "Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk." In it, Walters alleged Mickelson's gambling losses totaled nearly $100 million. On Monday Mickelson took to Twitter and admitted to a gambling addiction.
In a tweet he claimed he'd had an addiction to betting for years and was now in recovery. He credited his wife and family for helping him through it and urged those struggling to get help, while advising others to enjoy gambling in moderation.
Here's his tweet:
And the full text:
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 into addiction which isn’t any fun at all. 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.
If you ever cross the line of moderation and enter into addiction, hopefully you won’t confuse your enablers as friends like I did. Hopefully you won’t have to deal with these difficult moments publicly so others can profit off you like I have. But hopefully you WILL have a strong and supportive partner who is willing to help you through being your worst self, and through your worst moments like I have in Amy. She has loved me and supported me through my darkest and most difficult times. I couldn’t have gotten through this without her. I’m so grateful for her strength in helping us get through the many challenges I’ve created for us. Because of her love,support,and commitment, I’m 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. 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.
This football season and beyond, enjoy yourself with moderation so it doesn’t detract from your ability to be present. In my experience, the moments with the ones you love will be far more remembered than any bet you win or fantasy league triumph.
Mickelson is among the greatest players in golf history and a six-time major winner. He also helped lead the charge away from the PGA Tour and to LIV Golf, receiving a reported $200 million from the Saudi-backed tour.
The narrative around his career completely changed at that point, so this story may not get the kind of response it would have years ago. Here's hoping Mickelson remains in recovery and he can continue to be a spokesman for people struggling with the same issues.