Phil Mickelson LIV Golf Invitational Series

With big aspirations and deep pockets, the LIV Golf Invitational Series presents a new challenge to the PGA Tour’s golf dominance. Photo: AFP

ICYMI: Phil Mickelson gambles – and loses – staggering R640 million!

Phil Mickelson accumulated gambling losses of more than $40 million (R640 million) between 2010 to 2014 according to reports.

Phil Mickelson LIV Golf Invitational Series

With big aspirations and deep pockets, the LIV Golf Invitational Series presents a new challenge to the PGA Tour’s golf dominance. Photo: AFP

US federal auditors probing golfer Phil Mickelson’s role in an insider trading case found he had accumulated gambling losses of more than $40 million (R640 million) between 2010 to 2014, according to an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s forthcoming biography.

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Shipnuck posted the excerpt from the unauthorised biography on the Firepit Collective website on Thursday.

The book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” is due to be released on Tuesday, 17 May.

That’s two days before the start of the PGA Championship, where Mickelson is the defending champion.

Phil Mickelson won last year’s PGA Championship at 50

Mickelson became the oldest major winner in golf history when he won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island last year at the age of 50, but it’s not yet known if he will defend the title at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Phil Mickelson has not played since an uproar in February followed Shipnuck’s publication of the player’s explosive remarks concerning the Saudi-backed LIV golf tour spearheaded by Greg Norman.

The six-time major champion called the Saudi partners “scary”, citing the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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But he said he was willing to work with them if the breakaway tour provided “leverage” in efforts to force the PGA Tour to alter policies that Mickelson said rob players of deserved money-making opportunities.

Phil Mickelson was a relief defendant in a 2016 criminal insider trading case that sent gambler Billy Walters to prison.

Mickelson wasn’t charged, but repaid almost $1 million made in the deal.

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In the excerpt posted on Thursday, Shipnuck, citing a source with direct access to the documents, writes that government auditors working the case investigated Mickelson’s finances over four years from 2010 to 2014.

“In those prime earning years, Mickelson’s income was estimated to be just north of $40 million a year,” Shipnuck wrote.

“That’s an obscene amount of money, but once he paid his taxes (including the California tariffs he publicly railed against), he was left with, what, low-20s? Then he had to cover his plane and mansion(s), plus his agent, caddie, pilots, chef, personal trainer, swing coaches and sundry others.

“Throw in all the other expenses of a big life – like an actual T. Rex skull for a birthday present – and that leaves, what, $10 million? Per the government audit, that’s roughly how much Mickelson averaged in annual gambling losses.”

Phil Mickelson’s management company confirmed in April that he had sought a release from the PGA Tour to play in the first event of the LIV tour, the LIV Golf Invitational near London June 9-11.

But in a statement Steve Loy, co-president of Sportfive management, stressed the player had not yet confirmed his participation.

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By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse