Phil Mickelson suffered gambling losses of over $40m, new biography claims

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To all those questioning why Phil Mickelson could possibly need the riches being dangled by the Saudi rebel circuit, perhaps the latest excerpt released from his forthcoming biography will provide an explanation.

It is claimed Mickelson sustained gambling losses totaling more than $40 million (£32.4m) over the four-year period from 2010-14.

This was disclosed as part of Mickelson’s legal fallout from an insider-trading case with Billy Walters, the famous Las Vegas high-roller, in which the golfer was named by the FBI and was forced to repay approximately $1million from a shares transaction.

Author Alan Shipnuck published a passage from “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar”, in which he quotes a source with access to the documents drawn up by government auditors following a forensic examination into Mickelson’s finances .

Although Mickelson earned roughly $40million in each of those years, Shipnuck estimates that after taxes, other expenses and a luxury lifestyle – including buying a dinosaur’s skull as a birthday present – ​​he would have been left with $10 million, meaning he “broke even or worse” over that period after taking into account his gambling.

There have long been rumors of Mickelson’s betting habits, as well as other indiscretions, and these revelations will inevitably only shine the spotlight ever brighter on the beleaguered left-hander.

The book is due to be released on May 17, just two days before the first round of the US PGA and this is just one factor why there is a growing belief inside the locker room that, despite being the reigning champion, the 51-year -Old will not play in the season’s second major.

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Mickelson has been on indefinite leave from golf for almost three months since the initial furore broke out of material in Shipnuck’s account.

Mickelson declared that the Saudis were “scary motherf—–s to be involved with” and referenced their “horrid human rights record”, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the treatment of homosexuals.

But he figured that he could overlook all this because “it provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

Greg Norman, the Australian entrusted with overseeing the Saudi bid to revolutionize the professional male game, later told Telegraph Sport that Mickelson’s comments and the resulting outrage derailed what had been the imminent launch of the breakaway league, but the plans were quickly redrawn and the $255 million eight-event LIV Golf Invitational Series will begin in St Albans next month, before heading to the US.

Mickelson has applied to the PGA Tour for a release to play in the tournament at the Centurion Club and will learn on Monday if he has been successful, as will others such as Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.

Westwood is playing in the Betfred British Masters, which began here at The Belfry on Thursday. The former world No 1 bogeyed the last two holes in a level-par 72 that left him six off the first-round pace set by Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Kiwi Ryan Fox, with Scot Richie Ramsay in a group one off the lead.

This is the first time Olesen has been at the top of a DP World Tour leaderboard after being cleared of sexual assault in court last December. Olesen acknowledged that he has had to rebuild his career, but “found it difficult” because of the case looming over him.

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At the Wells Fargo Championship in Maryland, Rory McIlroy shot a three-under 67 in his first start since finishing second in last month’s Masters. The Northern Irishman was two behind the early front-runners on five-under including a pair of Englishmen in Callum Tarren and Aaron Rai.

Garcia’s LIV participation, meanwhile, was all but confirmed when he shouted ‘I can’t wait to leave this Tour’ while on the stopwatch searching for his ball in the first round.

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www.telegraph.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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