Phil Mickelson has opened up about his gambling addiction which he explained caused “a lot of harm” and had “been so hurtful” for his family.
In a social media post warning his followers of the dangers, the 53-year-old described how there “was so much damage” but he was oblivious to a “hurricane”. He also paid tribute to his wife Amy for getting him through “my darkest and most difficult times”.
“I couldn’t have gotten through this without her,” he said in a lengthy post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Mickelson, the key LIV defector who will be absent from the US team competing at the Ryder Cup in Rome next week, has spoken several times over the past two years of his problems with “reckless” betting. The six-time major champion was last month forced to deny claims he tried to bet on a Ryder Cup while playing.
In an excerpt from a forthcoming book “Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk,” Billy Walters recounts details of the bets he and Mickelson allegedly made together. “At least he can bet on the Ryder Cup this year because he won’t be a part of it,” Rory McIlroy joked recently.
In his latest post, Mickelson told his followers that gambling had nearly ruined his life, as he explained why he will not be placing wagers on this year’s football season. “I won’t be betting this year because I crossed the line of moderation and into addiction which isn’t any fun at all,” he wrote.
“The money wasn’t ever the issue since our financial security has never been threatened, but I was so distracted I wasn’t able to be present with the ones I love and caused a lot of harm. This lack of presence has been so hurtful. ‘You’re here but you’re not with us,’ is something I’ve been told often throughout my addiction. It affected those I care about in ways I wasn’t aware or could fully understand. It’s like a hurricane is going on outside and I’m isolated in a shelter oblivious to what was happening.”
“I still have a lot of cleaning up to do”
He added: “There was so much damage to clean up that I just wanted to go back inside and not deal with it. If you ever cross the line of moderation and enter into addiction, hopefully you won’t confuse your enablers as friends like I did.
“Hopefully you won’t have to deal with these difficult moments publicly so others can profit off you like I have. But hopefully you WILL have a strong and supportive partner who is willing to help you through being your worst self, and through your worst moments like I have in Amy. She has loved me and supported me through my darkest and most difficult times. I couldn’t have gotten through this without her. I’m so grateful for her strength in helping us get through the many challenges I’ve created for us. Because of her love, support and commitment, I’m back on track to being the person I want to be.”
After many years of recovery, Mickelson said: “I’m now able to sit still, be present in the moment and live each day with an inner calm and peace. I still have a lot of cleaning up to do with those I love the most but I’m doing it slowly and as best I can.
“This football season and beyond, enjoy yourself with moderation so it doesn’t detract from your ability to be present. In my experience, the moments with the ones you love will be far more remembered than any bet you win or fantasy league triumph.”