Phil Mickelson is not gambling or playing fantasy football this NFL season.
The six-time major champion said in a lengthy social media post Monday that he will not bet on football games this fall as he continues to recover from a gambling addiction.
“I won’t bet this year because I’ve crossed the line of moderation and fallen into addiction, which is no fun at all,” Mickelson said. “Money was never an issue as our financial security was never threatened, but I was so distracted that I couldn’t be present with the people I love and caused a lot of damage. This lack of presence was so painful. “You are here but you are not with us,” is something I was told often throughout my addiction. It has affected the people I care about in ways I wasn’t aware of or couldn’t fully understand.
“It’s like a hurricane was blowing outside and I was isolated in a shelter, unaware of 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.”
Most of you will enjoy this football season in moderation, having lots of fun and entertainment. Fantasy leagues will provide banter between friends and the money won or lost in betting will not affect you. I won’t bet this year because I’ve crossed the line of moderation and…
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) September 18, 2023
Mickelson’s post comes about a month after his longtime gambling partner, Billy Walters, published a book alleging that Mickelson had bet more than $1 billion and lost $100 million. In 2011, Mickelson reportedly averaged just under nine bets per day and once placed 43 MLB bets in a single day. He also allegedly tried to bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup while he was on the team, which he denied.
Walters was convicted of insider trading in 2017 and served five years in prison. Mickelson was not charged in that case, but he lost nearly $1 million in earnings earned through stock tips he received from Walters. Walters was released to house arrest after 31 months in prison, and former President Donald Trump commuted the remainder of his sentence. Walters said he and Mickelson had a falling out after Mickelson refused to testify or support him publicly during his case.
Mickelson, 53, has won 45 times in his PGA Tour career and has won just over $96.5 million, second place behind only Tiger Woods on the Tour’s career money list. He won the last time at the PGA Championship in 2021 and earlier this year finished in a tie for second at the Masters. He missed the cut in the last two major championships of the season.
Mickelson was among LIV Golf’s staunchest supporters in its early days. He stepped away from golf for a while in 2022 after making controversial comments about the government of Saudi Arabia – which financially supports LIV Golf – despite human rights abuses in the country, as Mickelson acknowledged. Those comments drew widespread criticism and transformed him from one of the sport’s most popular players into one of its most controversial. He later returned and was one of the biggest names to sign with LIV Golf, who reportedly paid him a signing fee of $200 million.
Mickelson thanked his wife in his social media post for supporting him during his addiction and said he is “back on track to being the person I want to be.”
“After many years of receiving professional help, without gambling, and recovering from my addictions, I am now able to sit still, be present in the moment, and live each day with inner calm and peace,” he wrote . “I still have a lot to do with the people I love most, but I’m doing it slowly and as best I can.”