Phil Mickelson
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ESPN's Outside the Lines named pro golfer Phil Mickelson as a bettor whose money led a handicapper to plead guilty to three federal counts of money laundering, according to national media.

Mickelson, a longtime San Diegan who put his Rancho Santa Fe estate for sale last November, had no comment.

Outside the Lines said it heard from two sources that Mickelson, a big-money winner on the pro tour, used Gregory Silveira of La Quinta as a go-between to place sports bets with an illegal offshore gambling syndicate. In 2010, Mickelson placed $2.75 million in bets with Silveira as the conduit, said Outside the Lines.

The ESPN program did not say that Mickelson is under investigation. He was not named in court documents.

Last year, Mickelson's name cropped up in a federal insider-trading investigation. Others involved were supposed to be billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters. Mickelson has long had the reputation of being a gambler, although he has not been charged with illegal activity.

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MURPHYJUNK June 30, 2015 @ 7:29 a.m.

maybe he needed extra cash so he went to touting that dangerous arthritis drug ?

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Don Bauder June 30, 2015 @ 8:22 a.m.

Murphyjunk: According to one account, Mickelson raked in $51 million in winnings and endorsements last year. He would seem to be fairly well fixed, although he complains about California taxes. Best. Don Bauder

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Visduh June 30, 2015 @ 7:34 a.m.

This suggests Mickelson is getting a pass due to his celebrity status. The report sounds eerily like the reports that Pete Rose was betting on baseball games while a player. In that case he denied doing it, and when the evidence was revealed, he admitted to it, but denied he'd ever bet on games he played in or those of his team. Eventually it was determined that he had, in fact, bet on his own games. And that's why he's banned from baseball for life, and is not going to be in the hall of fame.

Could Mickelson have been doing the same sort of thing? We shall see.

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Don Bauder June 30, 2015 @ 8:24 a.m.

Visduh: Good questions. Gambling can become an addiction. I don't know if he is addicted to it, but that is a possibility. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK June 30, 2015 @ 8:44 a.m.

it would be a shame to think someone threw a golf game due to gambling .

seems it is one of the last sports that would be corrupted.

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Don Bauder June 30, 2015 @ 8:57 a.m.

Murphyjunk: On the contrary, I think golf is the one of the easiest games to throw. The briber only has to get to one person -- the golfer. He or she can easily miss a putt by an inch or two, or do whatever it takes to lose, and not be detected. The other sport easily fixed is boxing.

Fixing games in other sports is more complicated. Even getting to the quarterback in football doesn't guarantee an outcome. Ditto basketball. And baseball. You can't get to to all the players.

Golf used to have a terrible reputation for corruption. It doesn't now, but maybe it deserves one. Boxing has had an even worse reputation, and still does. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel June 30, 2015 @ 10:04 a.m.

don bauder Here's the problem with your supposition. In order to get that one golfer to throw the game to lose, they must first be in a position to win. The U.S. Women's Open begins next Thursday. At this point, can you tell me whom it might be that will be in that position to influence the outcome? Of course you can't. The tournament takes place across 4 days. In the vast majority of tournaments, the outcome is in doubt until the back nine on the final round and many times until the last 3 or 4 holes, if even then. How would you predict before the start of the tournament, let alone before the start of the final round, whom to bribe. Not to mention how you would do so during the final round. And it wouldn't have anything to do with a putt. Any errant shot on any hole would produce the desired result. Could you influence a specific player not to play well in a tournament, shorting the player as it were to play poorly enough so as not to be in contention? Of course. But bribing a player to miss a crucial put or hit a bad shot at a crucial point in the round would be nearly impossible because as I said, they have to be in the right position in the first place and there is no way to predict that when there are over 100 other players each playing as individuals.

Team sports are much easier, because a single player can influence the outcome. A pitcher can groove a fastball, bounce a curve with the bases loaded, walk too may batters. A basketball player can shave points with no problem. A QB can easily have a "bad game" by missing receivers, throwing int's, taking a sack. A receiver can drop passes, an Rb can fumble, a kicker can miss.

It's inherently easier in team sports because that 1 player can influence the outcome for the whole team. It happens every week, even when there is no corruption involved.

In golf, it's individuals playing for themselves. That one player can only control how he/she plays and can only influence the outcome of an entire tournament if and only if they are in the right place at the right time, which is of course totally unpredictable. Here's your example. At this past weeks LPGA tournament, the leader was 1 up with 2 to play and the second place player had three to play. How would you ever predict those 2 players would be in that position at that time. Then the 2nd place player eagles 16 and birdies 17 while the leader pars 17. The second place player goes from 1 back to one up in the space of 2 holes. How would you predict that.

No golf is not one of the easiest games to throw. While you could influence an individual player to perform badly, it would be extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to influence a particular outcome.

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Don Bauder June 30, 2015 @ 2:57 p.m.

danfogel: Completely disagree. One of the ways gamblers bet on golf is to bet that one golfer beats another golfer. That is an eminently fixable arrangement. The bribed golfer, who can check on the other one while both are on the course, can make sure he loses. Of course, if the two golfers are playing together, or there are few playing, the fixing is that much easier.

Golf gambling still goes on, but I don't think it is as widespread as it was in the early days of pro golf, when the game had a bad reputation. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel June 30, 2015 @ 6:43 p.m.

don bauder There is a huge difference between gambling on which of 2 players will do better and throwing a golf tournament.

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 7 a.m.

danfogel: You claimed that gambling on golf is difficult. I explained that one of the major ways that people gamble on golf is to bet that player A will do better than player B. One could finish 40th in a tournament and another could finish 49th; neither has to win. Player B can make sure player A beats him.

Reverting to semantics, you say that is not "fixing a tournament." It's not determining the winner, obviously, but the fix is in. Contrary to what you say, golf is an easy game to fix. You can determine the winner if there is a playoff, and one or two players get bought off. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 1, 2015 @ 2:42 a.m.

OK so I'm proud to say that I'm NOT an expert on this but out of curiousity I started looking up the betting options for golf.

Don's right about the head-to-head bets - there's something called match betting where you can in effect bet on one player against another player.

But I did notice - at least on the first site that popped up in a google search - that there are already odds up for who will win the British Open but not for the match bets http://british-open-golf.betting-directory.com/match-betting-odds.php.

So that suggests to me that the match bets might be a more obscure bet.

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 7:05 a.m.

ImJustABill: Match bets might not be placed as often as other golf bets -- I just don't know. I know it is a popular way to bet on golf.

Of course, most gambling on golf is done by amateurs on a course. I have heard of many foursomes in which $1000 is riding on each hole. The pros do it, too, among each other. Mickelson is seemingly well known for that.

Or take customer golf. You are fixing the match if you let your customer or your boss win. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 1, 2015 @ 5:42 p.m.

don bauder, You should drop Mickelson a line and ask him to tell you about the time he lost 200K to 3 amateurs while playing a round at Augusta. After the round, he tried to welch aon the bet saying he was just kidding and would never play for that much. Next thing you know, he got called into the principal's office, so to speak. The foursome ended up in Billy Payne's office(chairman of Augusta National). Basically Payne told Mickelson to pay up every penny or he would never play at Augusta again. Michelson tried to call Payne's bluff and was told take it or leave it. Apparently he must have decided that it would probably not be a good idea to have to explain the the PGA commissioner why he was no longer welcome at Augusta, so he arranged a wire transfer to cover the bet.

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 9:32 p.m.

danfogel: That is a great story. I had never heard it before. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 1, 2015 @ 2:32 a.m.

I agree with danfogel.

The basic issue is that for there to be an betting advantage to one player tanking then there has to be a betting mechanism to bet on the player or team losing.

Because there are so many entrants in a golf tournament the odds of any one player winning are almost always small. So in golf for the most part you can't bet on a player to lose you can only bet on a player to win. Maybe there are some obscure bets available - how many strokes such and such player has, etc but I would think those are fairly unusual bets.

In contrast, for head-to-head team sports like football games, baseball games, etc one team wins and another team loses so the bettor can in effect bet on one team to lose.

Mistakes - turnovers, errors - can have a big impact on a game's result for sports like baseball, football, and basketball. So even a non-star player can have a big negative influence on the outcome of the game.

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 7:09 a.m.

ImJustABill: One way to try to fix a game is to get to the referees, or umpires, who are said to be underpaid. But even that doesn't guarantee you will win. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 1, 2015 @ 3:10 a.m.

I think that professional athletes who make millions of dollars per year would be unlikely to throw a game.

I would think it goes on a lot more in amateur athletics like NCAA hoops and football.

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 7:11 a.m.

ImJustABill: I don't know about that. There have been scandals in pro sports, although many were decades ago when pay was not so high. Yes, probably more games are thrown by so-called amateur athletes. USD had a big basketball scandal not long ago. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel June 30, 2015 @ 9:04 a.m.

Phil Mickelson has spoken publicly in the past about his gambling. Well, sort of. He has said that that he stopped gambling after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, at her request. So now we can include liar in his list of accomplishments.

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Don Bauder June 30, 2015 @ 10:01 a.m.

danfogel: You mean Mickelson has improved his lie? Best, Don Bauder

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Twister June 30, 2015 @ 10:45 a.m.

Spectator sports are for Walter Mittys. Circuses to keep us distracted from the other ways "they" are picking our pockets. Gambling is different from "gaming," but note how the latter is used as a euphemism for the former. The lottery has never gotten a dime of my money.

Now, to give this peripheral issue some relevance to something important:

No one should let their lawn dry up until all the golf courses are dry--PERIOD!

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danfogel June 30, 2015 @ 11:14 a.m.

Does that include golf courses irrigated using reclaimed waste water, the same water that most don't want to be purified into potable water, that most don't realize is already being done in San Diego?

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Don Bauder June 30, 2015 @ 3:03 p.m.

danfogel: Yes, golf courses are irrigated with non-potable waste water. But one could argue that the non-potable water should be used for other more important purposes. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 30, 2015 @ 3:01 p.m.

Twister: You never see me use the word "gaming" unless it is in a proper name. I use "gambling" because I think gambling and gaming are one and the same.

Yes, others are complaining that golf courses are not drying up the same way lawns are. I don't have to tell you why that is so. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister June 30, 2015 @ 4:43 p.m.

The trouble with treating sewage water is cost and technical difficulties like getting things like hormones out and system reliability. One equipment stumble, one operator screw up, one system glitch, and you're drinking contaminated water. The main reason that we're being told "toilet to tap" is so wonderful is that it's one more way to pick our pockets.

I wonder who pays the actual cost of treating sewage for non-potable uses?

As Ronnie was fond of saying, "There's no free lunch." The bottom line is that we're wasting water on frivolous things like golf courses and fantasy landscaping, not to mention crop irrigation. The only question is whether or not we're going to let the big-time wasters go on wasting big-time, and doing so on the cheap at our expense.

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 7:15 a.m.

Twister: Follow Rancho Santa Fe. Will those plutocrats and wanna-be plutocrats be forced to cut back water usage severely? Maybe we should take bets on that. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister June 30, 2015 @ 9:08 p.m.

I feel sorry for the golfers and others living downwind of the golf course sprinklers, which form ultra-giant aerosols that distribute bacteria and viruses downwind.

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 7:16 a.m.

Twister: Very interesting point. A home location on a golf course, heretofore, has been something you pay extra for. Will such homes now be discounted? Best, Don Bauder

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Twister July 1, 2015 @ 12:33 p.m.

There were some studies done in Israel that showed some interesting data.

One placed Petri dishes radiating out from a trickling filter at a wastewater treatment plant. I showed much, much higher concentrations of bacteria and viruses downwind.

Another was an epidemiological study of kibbutzim in the vicinity of alfalfa fields. Those downwind of the irrigation sprinklers showed much, much higher incidences of diseases associated with pathogens found in sewage. No data on the livestock fed the hay, unfortunately.

When I brought this to the attention of the Water Utilities Department engineers, they flipped it off, saying that every sewage vent in every building spews out the same stuff. They were wrong, of course, because the ultragiant aerosols need something like a trickling filter or a sprinkler of some kind to be produced.

Of course, I also tried to get the Public Health folks at SDSU interested in the issue of "leaf" blowers being used for dust blowers, and was summarily rejected.

The bottom line is THE BOTTOM LINE. If there ain't big money in a solution, it will be rejected--and, if it proposes SAVING money or resources, it will be savaged by the agency(ies) involved. My name is mud everywhere I have shot off my mouth; I guess I'm lucky that, so far, they haven't shot back. Of course the first weapon of choice is to ignore the SOB. Then you slander her/him with a whisper campaign. I'm not alone. Almost everyone who speaks the truth and knows what they are talking about is similarly ignored--this is a BASIC PRINCIPLE that has become increasingly imbedded in agencies and government, nay, corporations and even small businesses. If you want to keep your job, zip it up (except the one in your rear). If you want another job, zip it up. If you want to climb to the top, infuse yourself with sufficient gas to float.

Best, Twister

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Don Bauder July 1, 2015 @ 4:31 p.m.

Twister: These studies are most disturbing. One of the many so-called solutions to the drought is using non-potable water for many functions, such as the aforementioned golf course watering. But if bacteria and virus are going to make nearby people sick, we may have a serious problem. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister July 5, 2015 @ 9:24 p.m.

Even colleges of public health often conveniently ignore vector ecology at the microscopic level. You can SEE a mosquito, a dead crow, a dead horse (which, you can see, I am beating).

One doctor from a local college believes that most of the post-storm runoff contamination into the ocean is due to dog and cat poop. Said doctor also doesn't believe that aspirating gutter-dust stirred up by "leaf" blowers is hazardous to our health.

How many times have doctors told us exactly WHERE we acquired the pathogen(s) responsible for our illness(es)?

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Don Bauder July 7, 2015 @ 2:19 p.m.

Twister: I would surmise that doctors often dodge pinpointing the location f pathogens. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister July 5, 2015 @ 6:54 p.m.

Well, if we had as much sense as the Israelis, we would be doing such studies right here in River City! The essence of validating research results lies in repeating them.

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Don Bauder July 7, 2015 @ 2:21 p.m.

Twister: That's the first time I have heard San Diego called River City. Best, Don Bauder

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