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19th Hole

Major champ shares wild Phil Mickelson gambling story from Presidents Cup



A few weeks ago, an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s new book titled: “PHIL: The Rip-Roaring (Unauthorized) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar” was released.

Many were shocked to learn that Mickelson reportedly lost $40 million from gambling throughout the prime years of his career, according to Shipnuck.

Ahead of next week’s release of the book, the author has released an excerpt to  The Times of London which discusses how gambling affected Lefty during the course of his career.

The article shockingly states that Mickelson “more concerned” with checking the box scores and “covering the spread” while he was playing in tournaments.

Steve Flesch, who was paired with Mickelson on a Sunday during the Hyundai Team Matches, told Shipnuck that every hole Mickelson “was checking like a beeper or something.”

“He could not have cared any less about what we were doing on the golf course. He was definitely more concerned about who was winning the football games and who was covering the spread.”

Tom Lehman also had a similar story for the book. He told Shipnuck that Mickelson was checking scores football during the Presidents Cup in 2000.

The United States won the Presidents Cup handedly that year, but Mickelson had little to do with it.

Lehman was paired with Phil and their opponents were Mike Weir and Steve Elkington.

The 63-year-old told Shipnuck: “Phil is hitting it everywhere — he’s barely finished a hole through the first eight holes. He keeps saying, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll show up eventually.’

“On the ninth hole he buries it in the front bunker and is out of the hole again. He walks way back into the trees and is sitting on a stump with his back to everybody and his head down.

“I think he’s giving himself a pep talk, so I go over there to try to make him feel better and he’s got his phone out and he’s checking the football scores.”

Mickelson’s downward spiral since he made comments about the PGA Tour’s “obnoxious greed” has been fast and furious. His withdrawal from this week’s PGA Championship is more evidence that all of the bad publicity is having a severe impact on the 51-year-old.

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  1. Professor

    May 20, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    These comments are even funnier than the article. I mean, you can count the number of players who have come to Phil’s defense on one hand. But the fanboy stuff is hilarious. None of us know Phil. The people quoted in the article all know Phil. But that doesn’t stop some here from saying they must be lying. It isn’t a cancellation, it’s called reporting. But I guess it’s easy to just blame the media when they report something you don’t like or agree with. Funny how no one is commenting on the positive things Shipnuck had to say about Phil’s generosity and philanthropic endeavors?

  2. Bill Collier

    May 20, 2022 at 10:41 am

    It’s easy to kick a man when he is down. For whatever reasons, Phil is a fan favorite. Like they say, everyone has an opinion, and I hope Phil comes back and shuts up the “holier than thou” crowd.

  3. Hunter

    May 17, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    Those saying this couldn’t have happened because smart phones weren’t around need to brush up on their cell phone history. 100% this story is true. I’d trust Tom over Phil every time.

  4. Mike

    May 17, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    Wow! So I guess Phil, just like Tiger, isn’t perfect. Is that the media’s fault for building them up that way or our own gullibility and stupidity for believing it?

  5. Scott

    May 17, 2022 at 11:07 am

    The attempted cancellation of Phil continues.

    • John

      May 18, 2022 at 9:56 am

      Oh give me a break Phil Fanboy…

      • Scott

        May 18, 2022 at 10:27 am

        This is more of an indictment of the media than a defense of Phil, not a fanboy at all. Although he’s alot more fun to watch than tiger.

  6. Riddy Culus

    May 17, 2022 at 8:56 am

    There were no smart phones in 2000. Not likely this story is true.

    • Jeff

      May 17, 2022 at 9:54 am

      There absolutely were internet connected phones, however and services which offered life updates over text message. But sure, lets assume that multiple other professional golfers are somehow less reliable than what some want to believe about Phil Mickelson. Has he even denied these things or is the denial just your preferred fantasy?

    • Hunter

      May 17, 2022 at 3:55 pm

      Wrong. The first smart phone came out in 1994. By 2000, you most certainly could check scores. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

    • John

      May 18, 2022 at 9:57 am


  7. Hopp

    May 17, 2022 at 8:47 am

    Phil deniers out in force, guess he isn’t the stand up person you all thought he was. Just another gambaholic.

  8. Pingback: ‘I don’t trust Shipnuck’ – Former PGA champ hits out at author of new Mickelson biography – GolfWRX

  9. Scott

    May 17, 2022 at 1:23 am

    Aren’t you getting tired of kicking Phil around? What’s the matter no pro tiger story today?

    • John

      May 18, 2022 at 9:58 am

      Another Phil Fanboy has shown up, what a surprise.

  10. Fay K. Gnews

    May 16, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    Doubtful this happened.

    • John

      May 18, 2022 at 9:59 am

      More like guaranteed.
      Way too much info on Phil now and his shenanigans to believe none of it happened.
      A bit naive..

  11. The Enforcer

    May 16, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    This shipnuck guy will get his.

  12. Rebecca Enholm

    May 16, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    I’m so tired of bits of stories, so and so said, to a hack of a writer who had no problem revealing some of the off record accounts in his book. Hope he chokes on every dollar it earns him. Phil has easily been the second most influential golfer of his time, and will eventually be just fine. His fans will continue to support him, and count me as one. I’ve been a fan since his first tournament win as an amateur, and paid close attention to golf because of him. Now, I don’t care so much. I’d still love an explanation of how golfers, who are supposedly not employees, but rather free to play when they qualify or want to, can be dictated they now can not participate in this high paying new league?

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia’s personal relationship has reportedly turned toxic



In 2014 Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia were the so-called ‘dream team’ of the Ryder Cup.

The pair totted up a combined total of 5-and-a-half points of the 16-and-a-half won by the victorious European team, beating the pairing of Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan in the second day foursomes before both winning their singles.

Their relationship was so solid that McIlroy was honored to be an usher at Garcia’s wedding in 2017, but recently it’s all gone sour, with Golf Monthly reporting a “complete deterioration” of the relationship.

A week ago, it was widley reported that the Spaniard had told his Northern Irish friend that they were now “finally getting paid what we deserve,” a comment that received the reply, “Sergio. We’re golfers. We don’t deserve to be paid anything.”

According to Golf Monthly, the relationship has now “turned personal,” with the world number three unhappy that his old friend has dedicated himself to the Saudi-backed tour, putting the selection process for the Ryder Cup into confusion. The rhetoric between the two is reported to be “bitter and personal.”

At the Wells Fargo Championship in May, as he was hacking out of the rough after a ruling, Garcia was heard muttering, “I can’t wait to leave this tour,” before being confirmed as one of the initial participants of the LIV Golf Series.

Whilst it is unclear exactly what the sanctions are with regards to the Ryder Cup 2023, the way the PGA and DP Tours are moving, there is a distinct possibility that LIV players will be seriously affected – though Garcia has made clear that he wants to be a part of it.

At a press conference before the inaugural LIV event at the Centurion Club, Garcia stated, “I haven’t resigned from the European Tour because I would like to still be a member. I’m European, I love the European Tour. I played it for 23 years. Obviously we’re going to have to wait and see what the European Tour does. But I definitely would like to keep my membership and get my chance to make the Ryder Cup team because I love that event. But we’ll wait and see what happens over there.”

Whilst recent LIV press conferences on site have caused their own controversy, Garcia has prompted his own backlash.

After reportedly delivering an anti-DP World Tour rant at the BMW International in Germany last week, Golf Monthly reports that one tour player commented:

“They (LIV players) all think they are untouchable, and they all think the tours can’t do anything. I think they’re all about to realize they’re wrong. It is short sighted to think regulations can’t change and that there isn’t a lot of ill-feeling towards them. I think they’ve miscalculated quite dramatically.

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19th Hole

‘You like apples?’ – Greg Norman takes bullish shot at PGA Tour over LIV poll numbers



CEO of LIV Golf and former superstar Greg Norman took a shot at the PGA Tour via social media on Wednesday.

Sports Illustrated “Morning Read” shared a Harris Poll that indicated younger U.S. golf fans are open to the LIV Golf series despite its controversial source of funding.

Norman commented on social media with a link to the poll while tagging the PGA Tour’s official accounts, saying, “@pgatour you like apples??”

The line is, of course, in reference to a scene in the 1997 classic film Good Will Hunting, and Norman then doubled down on his bullish aim at the tour with a gif of one of follow up lines from Matt Damon’s character:

The results of the Harris Poll were extremely interesting.

According to Sports Illustrated, “Younger Americans are more aware of, more interested in and more open to the LIV tour, according to our polling — and the split is sharp. So while 40% of those 45 years old and younger are familiar with LIV, as opposed to 35% of the overall population, that figure falls to 27% among those aged 55 and over. And while 55% of U.S. adults familiar with the league plan to watch an LIV event, that number rises to more than 7 in 10 (71%) among those aged 18-34.”

The source of the funding for LIV has generated vigorous debate in recent months. The poll results indicated that younger golf fans aren’t as concerned with the Saudi money as the older generation. Among those aware that LIV Golf is funded by foreign government investments, a majority (52%) of those 45 and younger have no issues the arrangement, while those aged 55 and older report far more often that they disapprove.

There were plenty of other interesting results from the polling.

  • Those aware of LIV Golf’s funding sources are nearly evenly split about it (35% oppose the relationship while 36% support it).
  • By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Americans say that professional sports funders’ identities have no bearing on whether or not they watch. “In much the same way that sports fans are able to keep rooting for their team even if individual players have personal issues, it seems that they are willing to suspend judgment about a league even if its sponsors have poor reputations. This leaves open the question, however, of how potent attempts at “sportswashing” could be: If consumers are able to separate sporting events from their sponsors, it could run the other way, with leagues not transferring their positive reputations back to their funders.”
  • Among golf fans aware of the PGA Tour’s suspensions, 45% support the decision.

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19th Hole

‘Bye Bye Cheat!’ – Tour pro blocked on Twitter by Patrick Reed after shovel jibe



@PReedGolf – probably the cause of more ‘blocks’ on Twitter golf than any other is at it again.

As one of the more recent recruits to the LIV Golf Series, Reed has once again opened himself up to criticism, a factor of his career for many years.

On this occasion, Reed tweeted an offer for tickets to this week’s second LIV event in Portland, an offer that was re-tweeted by DP World Tour pro Mike Lorenzo-Vera with the comment, “Does this code works if I want to buy a shovel ???”

The comment refers to an incident at the 2019 Hero World Challenge when Reed was accused of brushing away sand from behind his ball in a bunker, and didn’t go down well with those that run the former Masters champion’s Twitter – they blocked him.

The move didn’t bother Lorenzo-Vera. He went straight back with, “Well… that was fast! Bye bye cheat!”

Support was there. Popular on-line commentator group ByTheMinute (Non LIV) Golf said, “Love this MLV but everyone else is blocked already,” but one respondent took the opportunity to cast doubt on the new PGA/DP Tour alliance by accusing, ” Have some self respect instead rather than praising a decision to iron out the fact the Euro Tour will be now on par with the Korn Ferry.” Ouch.

Most recently, a press conference held at Pumpkin Ridge saw Reed, Brooks Koepka and Pat Perez face a barrage of awkward questions from reporters, and the answers given certainly have received little approval. The irony, of course, being that Koepka was quite happy to accuse his fellow LIV player of cheating at that event in 2019.

The LIV Golf Invitational Portland starts tomorrow and Reed plays with Perez, Talor Gooch and Dustin Johnson as the ‘4 Aces GC’ team, whilst Koepka captains ‘Smash GC’, comprising his brother Chase and DP World Tour winners Richard Bland and Adrian Otaegui.

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