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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Phil Mickelson says gambling addiction ‘isn’t any fun at all’

Phil Mickelson during the 2023 PGA Championship in May. He shared details of his struggle with gambling with his social media followers on Monday.

By Emmett Lindner

Phil Mickelson, the golf great whose issues with gambling have made headlines throughout the years, took to social media earlier this week to share details about his addiction, and to offer a warning to potential bettors ahead of this year’s NFL season.

As the 2023-24 football season kicked off in earnest, Mickelson posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, to say that he would not be gambling on any games. “I crossed the line of moderation and into addiction which isn’t any fun at all,” said Mickelson, who has won six major golf tournaments.

The post went on to offer advice to anyone who might be struggling with similar issues: “If you ever cross the line of moderation and enter into addiction, hopefully you won’t confuse your enablers as friends like I did.”

The post came on the heels of the autobiography “Gambler: Secrets From a Life at Risk,” published in August by Billy Walters, a well-known sports bettor who claimed to know about Mickelson’s gambling habits and asserted that the professional golfer’s sports bets totaled more than $1 billion in a span of about 30 years.

A biography of the golfer by Alan Shipnuck that was released last year also explored the intimate and private moments of Mickelson’s life between swings. It highlighted just how serious the addiction had become, and the questionable relationships that Mickelson had made through his betting practices. According to one of Shipnuck’s sources, Mickelson’s gambling losses totaled more than $40 million between 2010-14.

Mickelson’s statement Monday did not address those claims, but instead focused on the negative effect that gambling has had in his life, and on the relief he feels having moved past it.

“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,” Mickelson wrote in the social media post.

Mickelson thanked his wife, Amy Mickelson, for supporting him through his struggles.

“After many years of receiving professional help, not gambling, and being in recovery from my addictions,” he wrote, “I’m now able to sit still, be present in the moment and live each day with an inner calm and peace.”

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