Federal auditors investigating Phil Mickelson’s role in an insider trading scheme found his gambling losses totaled more than $40 million from 2010 to 2014, according to an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s forthcoming biography.
Shipnuck posted the excerpt on his “Firepit Collective” site Thursday. His unauthorized biography on Mickelson is to be released May 17 during the PGA Championship. Mickelson is the defending champion. He has not said if he will be playing.
Mickelson has been out of public view since the final round of the Saudi International on Feb. 6. A short time later, Shipnuck posted explosive comments from Mickelson on his involvement in Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed golf venture.
Mickelson dismissed Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, including the killing of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, by saying it was worth getting involved with the Saudis if it meant gaining leverage to get what he wanted from the PGA Tour.
Mickelson was a relief defendant in 2016 in the insider trading case that sent noted gambler Billy Walters to prison.
Walters since has been released and has said he is writing a book.
In the most recent excerpt on the $40 million in gambling losses, Shipnuck wrote that government auditors investigated Mickelson’s finances over four years from 2010 to 2014. The author cited a source with direct access to the documents.
Mickelson’s annual income in 2012 — the time of the Dean Foods stock deal that netted Mickelson nearly $1 million in one week — was estimated at about $48 million.
Shipnuck also said money was largely behind his split with longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay in 2017. He wrote that Mackay left Mickelson after the Memorial that year over a series of “simmering grievances,” including hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay. Shipnuck wrote more details on that would be in the book.
Mickelson was seen as a chief recruiter for Norman and his Saudi-funded LIV Golf Investments. He told Shipnuck in a November interview — that excerpt was published in February — that he recruited three players who paid attorneys to write the operating agreement of the new league.
Mickelson’s agent said he has asked the PGA Tour for a conflicting event release to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational series to be held June 9-11 outside London.
The Telegraph in London cited sources as saying Mickelson has received $30 million up front and must appear in each of the eight events that make up the LIV Golf Invitational series. The tournaments offer $20 million in prize money, with an additional $5 million for team play.
PGA — Matthew Wolff’s last two competitive rounds were an 81 and a 78 at the Masters, where the 23-year-old long hitter finished behind every 60-something past champion in the field. He played a casual round at his home club a few days ago and lost every ball in his bag.
Beware the golfer with nonexistent expectations.
Playing with freedom and joy, Wolff bogeyed the par-5 second hole at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm but was flawless from there, shooting an opening-round 65 on Thursday to share the early lead at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I can go out and shoot 90 tomorrow and as long as I have a good attitude, I can put a check mark on this week and say that I’ve grown as a person and as a player and that’s just all I really care about right now,” Wolff said. “To be honest, it’s funny, but I’m not here to win a golf tournament, I’m here to have a good time.”
Joining Wolff atop the leaderboard were local favorite Denny McCarthy and two PGA Tour rookies from England, Aaron Rai and Callum Tarren. K.H. Lee, Nick Watney and Adam Svensson each shot 66. Rory McIlroy, the top-ranked player in the field at No. 7, was two shots back after an up-and-down 67.
European — Thorbjorn Olesen shot a 6-under 66 to share the lead with Ryan Fox of New Zealand in the opening round of the British Masters in Olesen’s bid to end a four-year title drought and get his career back on track after a damaging court case.
Olesen’s last win was at the Italian Open in June 2018. He was suspended by the European Tour the following year after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman and being intoxicated on a flight following a World Golf Championships event in Tennessee.
Olesen was acquitted by a court in December after saying he had no memory of his behavior because he had been drinking alcohol and taking sleeping tablets. The Danish player said the case had a “devastating impact” on his career, having plunged down the ranking from his position at No. 62 at the time of the incidents.
Now ranked No. 376, Olesen hasn’t finished higher than a tie for 12th in any of his seven events on the European Tour this year but made a strong start in this week’s tournament at The Belfry — a course in Sutton Coldfield, England, that has hosted the Ryder Cup.
Olesen birdied three of his first six holes and three of his last six holes in a bogey-free round after going out among the morning starters. Olesen and Fox were a stroke clear of three players — Hurly Long, Ashun Wu and Richie Ramsay.