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The Margin: Phil Mickelson allegedly tried to bet $400,000 on a Ryder Cup he was playing in

Golf legend Phil Mickelson gambled more than $1 billion on football, basketball and baseball over the last three decades, a forthcoming book claims.

Professional gambler and Las Vegas businessman Billy Walters alleges in a book due out on Aug. 22, “Gambler: Secrets from a Life of Risk,” that Mickelson placed hundreds of bets with him for exactly $220,000 and 1,115 bets for precisely $110,000 over the span of three decades. What’s more, Walters estimates that Mickelson lost more than $100 million on his bets during the last three decades. That’s according to excerpts of the book reported by The FirePit Collective.

“The only other person I know who surpassed that kind of volume is me,” Walters wrote.

Walters is viewed as one of the more successful professional gamblers in recent memory, and had sportsbooks limit the total amount he could wager at their establishments. Walters was convicted of insider trading in 2017 and served five years in federal prison. Mickelson was named in that insider trading case; he was not accused of wrongdoing, but agreed to pay back close to $1 million that he earned on the stock tip he got from Walters.

Walters said he met Mickelson for the first time at the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and formed a betting partnership two years later.

According to Walters, Mickelson asked Walters to place a bet on his behalf on the Ryder Cup in 2012. Mickelson, who was playing in the Ryder Cup, asked Walters to place a $400,000 bet on the U.S. team to win, something that Walters said he declined. PGA Tour players are prohibited from wagering on events under the organization’s Integrity Program.

“I could not believe what I was hearing,” Walters wrote. “‘Have you lost your (expletive) mind?’ I told him, ‘Don’t you remember what happened to Pete Rose?’ The former Cincinnati Reds manager was banned from baseball for betting on his own team. ‘You’re seen as a modern-day Arnold Palmer,’ I added. ‘You’d risk all that for this?’ I want no part of it.’’

Mickelson has a documented history of sports gambling. Court filings showed that Mickelson transferred roughly $3 million to an “illegal gambling operation” in 2015, and in 2007 the Detroit News reported that Mickelson had ties to an alleged mob bookie.

Representatives for Mickelson did not respond to Marketwatch’s request for comment on this story.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated last year, Mickelson was asked about speculation he was having financial troubles. “My gambling got to a point of being reckless and embarrassing. I had to address it,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson was one of the first professional golfers to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf last year, and was offered roughly $200 million to join the Saudi-backed league, according to the Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine. The PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit reached a landmark merger agreement in June that will create one operation that aims to “unify” golf.

Read on: PGA Tour commissioner says LIV Golf merger is on ‘right path,’ but some players remain skeptical

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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