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For years, the sports press has talked about golfer Phil Mickelson's gambling proclivities. Now that he has shot off his mouth about the excessive taxes on his $40 million+plus annual income, those stories -- some of which may be exaggerated or flatly untrue -- are surfacing again. Larry Dorman, former senior vice president and head of press relations for Carlsbad's Callaway Golf, now writes a column for PGATour.com. Buried in his column Tuesday was this item: Callaway was going to sign Mickelson as an endorser in 2004. But first it wanted to check out the gambling rumors. It put an investigator on the case. "Mickelson did like to gamble at the time, but he had no outstanding debts and his betting patterns -- a stat that Vegas casinos keep -- had him even to slightly up," wrote Dorman.

Back in 2002, Sports Illustrated wrote, "During practice rounds Mickelson has been known to make spontaneous wagers....that are overheard by the gallery." One time he offered golfer Mike Weir 25 to 1 odds that that another golfer would hole a bunker shot. Mickelson won $500 and was eventually reprimanded by the PGA tour. Said Sports Illustrated in 2002, "While it's true that Mickelson rarely plays friendly golf without some kind of bet involved, it seems safe to conclude that his gambling is no more outrageous or threatening to his substantial nest egg than that of his fellow Tour pros."

Mickelson and a syndicate are said to have put $20,000 down on the 2000 Super Bowl and won a reported $560,000. He also allegedly cleaned up betting on the Arizona Diamondbacks to beat the New York Yankees in a World Series upset.

In 2004, Tom Boswell of the Washington wrote a scathing piece about Mickelson's sudden switch of sponsors shortly after he had won the Masters, his first major championship. Just before the Ryder Cup, according to Boswell (and others who have reported the story), Mickelson signed with Callaway, leaving Titleist, with whose clubs he had won the Masters. He only played the Callaway clubs once before the Ryder Cup, did poorly, and was benched. America lost. Writers speculated that he signed with Callaway because he had a big gambling debt. This may be a canard, of course.

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Don Bauder Jan. 29, 2013 @ 7:09 p.m.

Twister: Yes, his tax bill will shrink considerably. But Florida is a long way from Las Vegas. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 29, 2013 @ 10:05 p.m.

"He only played the Callaway clubs once before the Ryder Cup, did poorly, and was benched. America lost. " First of all let me repeat what I said previously: I can't stand Mickelson as a golfer. That said however, I take issue with your characterization of the 2004 Ryder Cup. First of all, he didn't get "benched". He played in 4 of the 5 of the matches missing only the Sat. 4ball and since only 4 teams play, I hardly call that a benching. Did he suck? Yeah he did, but also give him credit for being the only winner on Sat afternoon. And since the US lost 18 1/2 to 9 1/2, It's pretty safe to say that everyone pretty much sucked. BTW, Larry Dorman said in that same article, that all the information was checked out by Callaway’s head of investigations, a former head of counterintelligence for the U.S. Army, and no evidence was found to support the claims, either of gambling debt or any other charge. Again, can't stand Phil the golfer. I'm just sayin'. PS, don't hear any gambling rumors about Rory, even though he didn't even make the cut in Abu Dhabi with his brand spankin new NIKE's. Again, I'm just sayin. LOL


Don Bauder Jan. 29, 2013 @ 10:18 p.m.

tomjohnston: Callaway knew he was a gambler. That is not denied. The question was whether he had piled up debts, and Callaway concluded he had not. As to that Ryder Cup incident, Boswell's article -- and others -- indicated that the coach of the U.S. team was suspicious and disgusted. You can get the articles online. One other point: be careful about assuming that a former counterintelligence ace, or a former FBI agent, now working for a company, is ipso facto untouchable. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 30, 2013 @ 9:30 a.m.

Don Bauder, Read my comment again. I couldn't care less whether or not Mickelson gambles, how often he gambles , or how big he loses or wins. I have been a subscriber to SI, Golf and Golf Digest for many, many, many years and have read all of the stories before. As I clearlty stated, I was taking issue of your characterization of the 2004 Ryder Cup and your clear inference, at least to me, that because of Mickelson's change in clubs, he played poorly, that poor play to his benching and subsequently contributed to America's loss in the 2004 Ryder Cup. Again, I quote "He only played the Callaway clubs once before the Ryder Cup, did poorly, and was benched. America lost. " Mickelson was not benched. He sat out 1 match. In his entire Ryder Cup career, which started in 1995 if I remember correctly, Mickelson has played in all 5 matches only twice, in 2006 and 2008. And to his poor play, well that fact that Mickelson has the all-time most losses in the history of the American Ryder Cup team speaks for itself. In his 9 Cup appearances, last year and his rookie year are he ONLY times he has had a winning record. In his last 5 cup appearances, including that 2004 Cup which you refer to, he is 7-16-3. Mickelson is hardly a world beater when it comes to his participation in the Ryder Cup and why he continues to be chosen escapes me. And as for my "assumptions" you referred to, I'm not assuming anything. That's not mine. It came straight from Larry Dorman in the very same column you quoted. In that same column, Dornan also said "The surprise signing and the proximity of the Ryder Cup combined to cause quite an uproar in the media. Baseless rumors arose in some quarters, questioning Mickelson’s motivation for signing. When I say baseless, I mean totally unfounded, manufactured rumors alleging gambling debts that had no basis in fact." It's OK if you want to sensationalize something to take up space, which is what you're doing because this story is quite literally old news. But you could at least TRY to get some of the facts correct.


Don Bauder Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:47 a.m.

tomjohnston: You may not care whether or not Mickelson gambles, but I think it is significant, because just recently he caused a stir by claiming that he was paying 62% or 63% of his income in taxes (a gross exaggeration, perhaps due to ignorance) and was thinking about leaving California and possibly the country for tax reasons. If he had not made that statement, I would not have printed anything about his gambling proclivities. It is interesting to read all your statistics about his Ryder Cup record, and I congratulate you for having such knowledge at your fingertips. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 31, 2013 @ 10:49 a.m.

Not to be a jerk, OK maybe I am being one, but why do you think Michelson's gambling is significant, regardless of what his recent remarks were? He's just another rich "athlete" / celebrity who makes more in a year than the average taxpayer will see in his lifetime and thinks he deserves more. The only difference with Lefty is that he publicly stuck his foot in his mouth and now looks like a complete fool. Let me put this way. Why would anyone consider anything he says or does in regards to his personal life significant? So he shot his mouth off. I mean really, who cares? I don't, but I guess that maybe you do. Do you think there is a tie in between his recent comments and maybe some money problems due to current gambling issues? If that's the case, spell it out for us. Otherwise, to me it has no significance at all. BTW, even though I am someone who admires good use of sarcasm, I must confess that my "knowledge" of Mickelson's Ryder Cup travails wasn't "at my fingertips". Admittedly, anyone who follows the PGA and Ryder CUP knows of his uncanny ability to look like a complete amateur during the last few Ryder Cup matches and that he is the losingest US player ever. Fortunately though, the PGA and Ryder Cup, maintain a beautiful website, one which includes, oddly enough, the complete player records of everyone who has played even a single match, both for the US and European teams. Imagine that! Nothing like good research instead of talking out of ones ass, I always say.


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