Phil Mickelson and his gambling stories know no end. His love for betting began back during his early days as a professional golfer. Today we look back at a bet from 2001 that won him $500, only later to be admonished by the PGA Tour for the violation of rules.
Mickelson has shared several gambling stories over the years. Some of those stories are quite recent and familiar to us. However, today we look at Mickelson’s love for gambling two decades ago.
The incident took place at the 2001 NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Mickelson was relaxing in the lounge with his fellow PGA golfers when he decided to place a $500 bet against his then arch-rival, Tiger Woods.
Phil Mickelson wins the bet but loses to PGA Tour
During a seven-hole playoff match against Woods, Mickelson wagered $500 on the bet that Jim Furyk would sink a bunker shot. The anticipation at the moment was very high around the golf club in Akron, whether Furyk would make it out of the bunker or not.
Meanwhile, Woods had a 35-foot birdie putt. The Golf magazine claims that Mickelson turned to the table next to him in the players lounge and offered 25-1 odds that Furyk would hole out from the bunker. David Toms and Stewart Cink declined the wager, but Mike Weir took the $20 risk. Furyk made the shot, extending the playoff longer. However, Tiger Woods eventually went on to win the hole.
Weir later realized that he only had $100 with him. But Mickelson wouldn’t mind receiving the money two weeks later in St. Louis. Later, both Lefty and his victim Weir were criticized by the PGA Tour.
According to the Tour’s spokesman Bob Combs, both golfers violated the rules of the Tour. He said, “The tour’s regulations regarding gambling are designed to ensure the integrity of the competition is preserved.”
Combs further added, “Although the incident reported involving Phil and others in no way compromised the integrity of the competition itself, it is a technical violation of the regulations prohibiting bets on a golf tournament.”
The handbook says players are not to gamble or play cards on the premises where a PGA Tour event is being played. Despite the heavy criticism of both golfers, Combs declined to comment on whether the players were fined or not.
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