Par Points Golf

The Multitudes Within Mickelson

In an exclusive excerpt from his biography, the author reveals the scale of Phil’s gambling
losses, some of the backstory on the Bones bust-up and celebrates Lefty’s virtues

By Alan Shipnuck
May 5, 2022

This story is adapted from “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar.” It will be published May 17th by Simon & Schuster and can be pre-ordered here.

I’ve thought about Phil Mickelson every single day for the last three months. What has he been doing with his time? What has he been feeling? Shame, regret, rage, humility, defiance … they have all been on the table. His void was felt acutely at the Masters, even if the timid CBS announcers never mentioned it. At the Champions Dinner, Gary Player offered a passionate defense of Mickelson, saying it was a travesty the three-time champion was not there to break bread. Under the famous oak tree behind the Augusta National clubhouse, rumors abounded. One had Mickelson hiding out in Montana, having grown a ZZ Top beard. Another had him sneaking into the Callaway Performance Center in California for a late-night practice session … sporting shoulder-length hair. One of the most enduringly popular golfers of the last three decades had become golf’s Yeti.

A recent video snippet of Mickelson playing a casual game at a private club near San Diego showed respectable hair, a decent beard and evidence he has not been adhering to his ballyhooed fasting regimen. But when will he return to public life? It will be in two weeks at the PGA Championship, or the first Saudi event in June or not until 2023, depending on which tea leaf you’re reading.

It is dizzying to imagine Mickelson not defending his title at the PGA, where a year ago he summoned a win for the ages. His improbable victory at age 50 seemed destined to be a joyous victory lap for a legendary career. But behind the scenes, he was already playing with fire by working with the Saudis in their bid to create a competitor to the PGA Tour, which for so long has provided Mickelson a grand stage on which to perform. In February, while collecting a bloated appearance fee to play in and promote the Saudi International, Mickelson opened a vein to John Huggan of golfdigest.com, complaining about the Tour’s “obnoxious greed,” among other things. His diffident words enraged colleagues and stirred considerable angst in the corporate headquarters of his endorsement partners. 

A week later, an excerpt from my forthcoming biography about Mickelson appeared on FirePitCollective.com, in which he callously dismissed Saudi atrocities and admitted to sneaky dealings in helping them set up their rival tour. The blowback was so extreme that Mickelson immediately went into hiding. A day after the excerpt dropped, a member of his inner circle texted me of the Tour, “Now they want to suspend Phil.” Four days later Mickelson released a non-apology apology, saying, “I know I have not been my best and desperately need some time away to prioritize the ones I love most and work on being the man I want to be.” Is he suspended or not? That is a matter of semantics.

I watched all of this unfold in a state of dismay. I knew his blunt comments about the Saudis and the Tour would provoke controversy but never imagined they would send a beloved Hall of Famer into exile for months. A handful of the best golf minds I know had read the “Phil” manuscript, and none of them saw it coming either. Greg Norman recently made the preposterous claim in The Guardian that I was in cahoots with the PGA Tour to drop the excerpt at the moment that would do maximum damage to the launch of the Saudi tour. I’ve had my own battles with the PGA Tour; the last thing I’m going to do is be its puppet. The reality is that the Saudi situation was coming to a boil in mid-February and one of the most freighted questions in professional golf was, What does Phil want? Among professional typists, only I knew, and it felt like malpractice to leave Mickelson’s role buried in the book for three more months, until its May 17 release. For those who were or remain upset about the timing of the excerpt, May 17 is Tuesday of PGA Championship week. Would it really have been better for Mickelson if he had to answer questions about the Saudi bombshell stepping off the 18th green of a practice round at Southern Hills?

The greatest golf writer alive joins Fire Pit Collective. Listen below for more on Phil as Alan welcomes the latest addition to the Fire Pit stable, Michael Bamberger.

If I’ve thought of Phil a lot over the last three months that’s probably because the excerpt rocked my world too. In his Feb. 22 statement, Mickelson wrote, “There is the problem of off the record comments being shared out of context and without my consent…” Those are among the most serious charges you can make against a reporter. Out of context? We were talking about Saudi Arabia and the PGA Tour. Without my consent? Phil called me! Three times I had asked him face-to-face to sit for interviews for the book. He demurred and ultimately declined, which is his prerogative. Given how much access I have had to Mickelson through the years, I didn’t really need him, although I thought he would have benefited from telling his side of every story. I told him that. Then around Thanksgiving, a week before the manuscript was due, he texted me and asked if we could speak. Given this context, anything he said was going straight in the book, unless we agreed otherwise. Mickelson never said he wanted to go off-the-record and if he had asked, I would have pushed back hard, because this was my one chance to get him. He just started talking, eager to tell me everything.

It is important to note that Mickelson never opens his mouth without an agenda. He has spent his career alternately charming, cajoling, manipulating and bullying reporters. (This is laid out in detail in the book.) During the 2000s, John Hawkins was one of the most high-profile scribes on the golf beat, often breaking news for Golf World and Golf Digest. During a period when there was tremendous scrutiny about Mickelson’s gambling, Hawkins was alone in the locker room at the Tour Championship with Phil, who pulled out his phone and began placing bets on early-season college basketball games. “Over 20 minutes he must’ve made 50 bets,” says Hawkins. “It was like he was showing off.” This put Hawkins in an especially awkward position because his then-wife worked for Hugo Boss, assisting Mickelson with his clothing deal. “I’ve wondered about Phil’s motivation in being so brazen in front of me,” Hawkins says. “Was he trying to co-opt me? Was he testing my loyalty?” He never wrote about the gambling spree.

Had Mickelson been doing the same thing with me? He could have called any reporter to come clean about the Saudis, but he chose the guy who was writing his biography. In his statement he used the word “reckless” to describe his actions, and maybe that’s the point. He is an adrenaline junkie, and there must have been some kind of thrill in sharing with me his deepest, darkest secrets, knowing what was at stake. Or maybe it was pure calculation: By not setting any ground rules for our conversation, he was able to register his true feelings for posterity but could later give himself deniability that he didn’t mean for them to go public? His actions remain baffling, even (especially!) to me.

Mickelson is a polarizing character, and both his supporters and detractors were eager to tell me everything, but there were often ornate agreements about what material could be used or how it had to be sourced. One high-roller who had a history of gambling with Mickelson summoned me to his office to provide valuable background, but not only was I not allowed to record the conversation, I also couldn’t take notes; he wanted no evidence we had spoken. This gent told me a story that would have been international news, but it isn’t in the book because we were speaking off-the-record and I always honor those agreements.

Mickelson’s love of gambling is fundamental to understanding his style of play as a golfer. It might also explain the Saudi seduction. Based on his comments to me, he clearly enjoyed the idea of sticking it to the PGA Tour, but the real motivation was plainly the funny money being offered by the Saudis. Why was Phil so eager to cash in, at the risk of alienating so many fans and endorsement partners? The massive scale of Mickelson’s gambling losses has never before been made public, but, as noted in the book, during the Billy Walters insider trading investigation, government auditors conducted a forensic examination of Phil’s finances. According to a source with direct access to the documents, Mickelson had gambling losses totaling more than $40 million in the four-year period (2010–14) that was scrutinized. In those prime earning years, his income was estimated to be just north of $40 million a year. 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. (And we don’t know what we don’t know.) In other words, it’s quite possible he was barely breaking even, or maybe even in the red. And Mickelson’s income dropped considerably during his winless years from 2014 to ’17.

Money was a big factor in Mickelson’s bust-up with his career-long caddie, Jim (Bones) Mackay. They announced their split in June 2017 with chummy matching press releases. At the time, the overriding emotion in golf circles was disbelief. “It felt like your parents were splitting up,” says John Wood, a longtime Tour caddie and now an NBC/Golf Channel commentator. The statements made the divorce sound amicable, but that was nonsense. Bones had fired Phil at the ’17 Memorial, over a series of simmering grievances (laid out in detail in the book), including hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdue back pay.

There is something Shakespearean about Mickelson’s arc. He had it all, or so it seemed, but greed and vanity and recklessness (and perhaps desperation) cost him everything, at least in the short-term. But he will come back, because he always has, through myriad controversies and heartbreaks. Even though he besmirched my professional reputation, I can’t help but still root for Phil. Because of the heat surrounding the excerpt, plenty of folks have asked if this book is some kind of takedown. Far from it. I have always enjoyed Mickelson and devote a lot of the book to celebrating his virtues. It is undeniably fun to be in his orbit. “One of the reasons Phil has lasted so long is because he’s had a joyful life,” says Charles Barkley, one of the few men alive who have been close to both Mickelson and Tiger Woods. “Tiger won a bunch of tournaments, but there wasn’t much joy in it. Sure, Tiger is a better golfer. You’re just in awe of his talent. But it’s not fun to be around him. Everyone in his world is uptight and shit, afraid to say or do the wrong thing. Tiger himself has always acted like he’s under siege. Gimme a fuckin’ break—you’re just a golfer, dude. When you’re with Phil, you’re guaranteed to have fun. He makes people feel good. Everyone around him is always smiling. That’s a huge difference, man.”

Mickelson has a softer side, too. His wife, Amy, had battled breast cancer in 2009, and at the PGA Championship seven years later, Ryan Palmer was still reeling from his wife’s recent diagnosis when he bumped into Mickelson outside the scoring tent. “I took him aside and told him about Jennifer,” says Palmer, “and before I said anything else he pulled me in for a hug. It lasted a really long time. Then he said, ‘Here’s what’s going to happen—I’m going to put you in touch with Dr. Tom Buchholz of MD Anderson [Cancer Center in Houston], he’s gonna get you the best doctors and surgeons in the world. They’re gonna take care of you guys and Jennifer is going to be OK.’ That night I was on the phone with Dr. Buchholz, and everything Phil said came true. I’ve never stopped being grateful for what he did for me and my family.”

Having covered Mickelson for pretty much his entire career—my first year on the golf beat was 1994, his second full season—and then immersing myself in his world for this book, I have encountered many people touched by his large-scale philanthropy and random acts of kindness. At Tour events I still sometimes encounter David Finn, who for nearly two decades has been Phil’s biggest fan. David suffers from a mitochondrial disorder that has withered his limbs and has robbed him of his ability to speak. But a broken body can’t suppress the powerful spirit within. David’s bright blue eyes convey intelligence and an eagerness to connect. Mickelson sensed this when he crossed paths with David at the 2005 PGA Championship. After putting out on Baltusrol’s 14th hole, he walked over to David and said, “Hi, buddy, thanks for coming. Here’s a souvenir for you.” He laid an autographed glove in the kid’s lap. Says David’s father, John, “So many people don’t know how to act around the severely disabled. Pity is the worst possible emotion. The glove was a wonderful gesture, but what made that moment so meaningful was that Phil treated Dave like a normal kid, which is all he wants.”

The Finns followed Mickelson throughout the week, with Phil often acknowledging David with a smile or gesture. Mickelson, of course, won the tournament, but even in one of the headiest moments of his career, he thought of his biggest fan, so as the trophy ceremony was beginning, Bones hustled over to say his boss was wondering if David would like to have a picture taken with the his boss and the Wanamaker Trophy. The moment was recorded for posterity by the Newark Star-Ledger: Phil has the trophy in one hand and the other is placed tenderly on the left shoulder of David, whose head is thrown back in ecstasy. The glove is now enshrined in glass in David’s room, and he has a thick scrapbook of his PGA Tour adventures, which his three older sisters call The Book of Phil. Asked about his affection for Mickelson, David spelled out on a touchscreen monitor, “Phil is the Arnold Palmer of today.” His father gently chided him for parroting something they had heard on Golf Channel. David thought a bit longer. With great determination, he tapped, “Phil was the first person to make me feel special.”

In the wake of the Saudi revelations, Rory McIlroy called Mickelson “naïve, selfish, egotistical, ignorant.” If he was only those things, I would have had zero interest in spending nearly two years working on a book about the guy. But Phil can also be generous, thoughtful, caring, empathetic, charming and a heckuva lot of fun. It is the multitudes within Mickelson that make him so fascinating.

Mickelson

67 thoughts on “The Multitudes Within Mickelson”

  1. I wonder if you will continue to be in Phil’s orbit after this book. I wouldn’t blame Phil if you aren’t.

  2. I really like Phil, he’s all the things you’d want for a friend. I think there are some pro golfers who think he’s arrogant or dismissive but, in this business, you can only spread yourself so far. I sincerely hope that Phil does what he thinks will give him the same good life he’s had. I don’t care what he does in his personal life, I only know that he is one of the best golfers to come along in a while. I enjoy his shot-making abilities and his keen sense of humor. Whatever he decides to do I will still be pulling for him to win.

  3. James Lancaster-Smyth

    Reminds me of an old classmate at university. I was studying classics and mostly economics while he studied a plethora of science. He became a well known magician and eventually performed sex acts on stage at a local shakespeare festival. Nigel was a betting man and I was not.

    1. Why did this jerk put Phil’s comments out to the public. How awful of him. Phil is the best. His sense of humor is fabulous. His kindness to others/fans outshines any golfer I’ve seen. I was shocked when I read what this guy put out there. He has probably ruined Phil. I pray not. I’m all in for Phil. Always.

      1. I think that answer has already been settled. Phil only wants people who can’t spell the word fact.

      2. You seem to have issues with properly assigning accountability. I wouldn’t care to play the piano around you.

      3. “Why did this jerk put Phil’s comments out to the public”?. Um, maybe because he’s a journalist and he was writing a biography. It’s not like Phil didn’t know that. Gimme a break Kathie.

      4. Um, it was all planned? Something of this magnitude is precisely calculated when to release, what to release, how to release. All parties involved are privy. Maximize money. Its all my firm does.

      5. Corey Castner

        Kathie
        He was not out to ruin Phil, he simply reported the truth. These issues most certainly won’t detract from Phil’s popularity, but the fact is (I have personally been around Mr. Michelson) that he lacks restraint.

        Phil needs serious help with a disease of addiction. If he does all will be fine in his future golf and life endeavors.

  4. Short game wizard and nice body thick calves big shoulders good guy type gritty attitude in this day age of modern professional sports. Hit it long and far and let the shaft do the talking a la sam jackson.

  5. As a group of reporters, maybe a deep dive into the PGA tour and their so-called not-for-profit status, are the player’s independent contractors or employees. What about all the other players that took Saudi money and the Golf Channel for televising the event, don’t just single out one person. Phil has done so much for the game, and you took him away from our TV screens to sell a book. His PGA Championship win at 51 was one of the most remarkable events ever, and if he doesn’t defend this year, that will be one of the biggest travesties. No coincidence, your book is launching the week of the PGA, please.

    1. Dan Kilpatrick

      Players benefit greatly from being independent contractors. They can set up their own LLCs for tax purposes, negotiate their own endorsement deals, and manage their schedule. If they were employees they couldn’t deduct the costs of their private jets for travel to tournaments, would been on the costs for lodging beyond meager hotel rooms, would pay far more in taxes they likely do, and have to play in tournaments they don’t want to play in.

      As far as not-for-profit status, maybe you should like up the meaning behind it. Many non-profits raking in billions of dollars in revenue and income (majority of these are universities and hospitals).

    2. Excellent. Until we stop importing Saudi oil this is all double standard dribble. I noticed that KPMG has a thriving Saudi practice. I’m quite sure workday is doing plenty of business there as well.

      1. And stop selling them weapons…the USA and Canada!! We can send them billions of dollars in revenue by buying their oil, and we can sell them weapons, yet a handful of golfers are being vilified for playing a few events in the US and UK???? This is happening a few months after the Olympics were in Beijing!!! Curious to see where people draw the line.

  6. Can’t wait to read. Am I the only one to call you out for dancing like a pixie in front of the cameras as the gallery engulfed Phil at Kiawah. Skipping along as if you knew what a brilliant climax for the book.

  7. Timothy McNulty

    The irony if you releases excerpts of your book the week the SGL was set to launch is to impossible to believe. Whatever deal you made with the PGA to release it that week, Only you and the sneering Jay Monahan & Eamon Lynch know. By the way, do you dine with Eamon Lynch often????
    You are a hack. A useful patsy in this high stakes game between the bully (PGA Tour) & the SGL.
    Both the PGA Tour & you seem to think the SGL is bad for golf. Is destroying the reputation of the 2nd most popular golfer good for the game of golf
    You released the excerpts because it was good for publicity (book sales). You did it for the money. What’s wrong with Phil wanting money too? Give my regards to Eamon Lynch the next time you see me. He blocked me and my 49 followers on Instagram 😂😂😂

    1. Everyone is motivated by money. Phil was reckless with his comments. I don’t have a problem with them being disseminated.
      Phil was MADE by the PGA Tour. And I guarantee you Phil will also be taken down by his betrayal.

      1. Loyalty and honor was a motto of my military academy,Valley Forge Military Academy and my dad said ,stay with the one that brought you to the dance and the tail doesn’t wag the dog.:(

  8. This line says everything you need to know about Alan Shipnuck:

    “Mickelson never said he wanted to go off-the-record and if he had asked, I would have pushed back hard, because this was my one chance to get him”

    Shipnuck clearly was ambushing his subject, as I’m sure he does with his other subjects. Did Shipnuck ask whether the comments were on the record? Of course not because he knows very well what the response would be and that the comments were, if fact, off the record.

    1. It’s not the reporter’s responsibility to announce what’s on or off the record. If you call a reporter that you don’t normally talk to on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, you should know that if you don’t specify that your comments are off the record then they’re not off the record.

      And Shipnuck wasn’t ambushing. He uses “get him” as in, Phil hasn’t called him in weeks/months/years so this was his only chance to talk to him.

      1. Exactly. Unfortunate choice of words there for an otherwise excellent scribe; many people will misconstrue “get him” to mean “haha, I nailed him”, when a close read makes it clear he just meant “get access to”.

    2. “Ambushing his subject.” JB, are you as CLUELESS as you seem? Please remember: Mickelson called Shipnuck. He knows Shipnuck is a golf reporter. He knows Ship was writing a book, having been asked for an interview at least three times. Mickelson NEVER asked that his statements would be off the record. And you claim that Mickelson was AMBUSHED? Think about it: when you call a reporter and fail to establish UP FRONT that “what I’m about to tell you is off the record,” please DO NOT be stunned/surprised/appalled that your comments later appear in print. Nobody can be that naive. Even you, JB.

      1. Thanks Benseattle. Pardon my naivete but why don’t you take a look at “The Swinger,” which is Shipnuck’s (and his equal in terms of journalistic integrity, Bamberger’s) book about another well-known golfer? Apparently, no one would go “on the record,” as you suggest is the norm so they went ahead and wrote it up anyway and called it fiction in order to sell the drivel. Also, using CAPS actually doesn’t help your argument fwiw.

        1. I’m with you J.B.–Shipnuck said it all. He is deliberately ambiguous when he says “this was my one chance to get him.” He got him. On the one hand, he’s proud that he got him. Yet, on the other hand, he doesn’t want to own that “he got him” because of the backlash on him and his “journalistic integrity.” Really,? it’s tabloid drivel at best. Since when did tabloid journalists care about their integrity?

  9. Put anyone under a microscope and there will be flaws. What’s disgusting is there are people who have no issue signing book deals, getting screen time and filling their coffers reporting on those shortcomings. You lambast Phil for going after the Saudi money, but you have no problem ruining his career, reputation and legacy – after he has given you years of access – all for a book. How do you sleep at night?!

    The self righteousness is disgusting… it’s why people can’t stand journalists anymore. You act like it’s a coincidence that the book is coming out PGA week. Give me a break!!!! No Tour player will ever talk to you again and I don’t blame them.

    1. Ah yes it’s the journalists fault that the player wants to get into bed and take money from one of the worst authoritarian regimes out there. For the sake of your family grow up please.

  10. Omigosh, Phil is a human being! Good parts and bad parts.

    I’m not sure I buy the part about Phil “always having an agenda.” I sense that he is a low self-monitor – says pretty much what he feels – and then ends up in tabloid situations if he tries to back-pedal.

    Some bring up the insider trading accusations involving Dean Foods stocks circa 2016. Phil was never charged after agreeing to return profits from the sale. This came as federal judges began admonishing DOJ hotshots such as Manhattan federal prosecutor Preet Bharara to quite going on fishing expeditions for a vaguely defined crime.

    In the 21st Century, if you’re a successful person, expect to have detractors come after you for being less than perfect.

    As for author Schupack, I’ll reserve judgment until I have read the entire book. I’m fond of Schupack for his earlier book, “Deane Beman, Golf’s Driving Force.” The book chronicled the role of Beman in wresting the PGA out of the shadow of the USGA and turning it into one of the premiere sports organizations in the world. I’m a retired business professor, and I used the Beman book as the basis of a graduate strategy class I had to teach on short notice back in 2014.

    1. Uh, Professor Chipnrun…. are you confusing Alan Shipnuck (author of the upcoming Mickelson book) with Adam Schupak, the writer of the Deane Beman book you referenced?

    2. WeekendDuffer

      I have an exercise for you. Call up someone you know at a major corporation with inside knowledge of what a company will do and then buy or short stocks based on that information. The FBI or SEC decides they want to look at the timing of your trade and find you traded on inside information. Let me know if they they think that just returning the money is enough to vindicate you. It worked so well for Martha Stewart. Its a miracle KPMG didn’t cut him loose at that point being they are supposed to be the arbiters of financial truth. I guess the 10M a year they were paying him for 12 years was an accounting error they couldn’t stomach.

  11. Cant waot fpr the book.

    Phils business expenses are deductable against his income. So to use your logic/figures, its 40 mm, minus the jets,caddies,houses, “hundos” as tips, etc. the rest is taxed at over 50 percent given where Phil chooses to live.

  12. Ok, now I have decided you have it in for Phil. This is very dated info and interesting how you lead with the salacious negative headline. I guess you got me to click – congrats!

  13. There should be an IQ test to pass before someone is allowed to post here. There are very basic levels of intelligence and understanding that one needs when reading a piece like this. First, it is not a journalists job to protect athletes or celebrities’. Second, it is completely understood that everything is on the record unless otherwise stated. He’s a 50yo adult who’s been talking to media for 70% of his life and knows exactly what he did. Third, the idea that great athletes are above reproach or error is laughable. If you are a fan of golf and can approach things understanding your biases you should know by now that Phil life in the sun has really actually been just well lit shadows. If you read this and can’t see the pull for an author to profile someone they have great knowledge about who also comes with these types of highs and lows then that’s a you problem. There is to much searching for affirmation in our beliefs and when anyone says something we dislike, it’s a problem. Search instead for information. Learn, take in knowledge and then make your opinion knowing that….and this is a shocker….your opinion could change one day. Can’t wait for the book so that I can learn the good and bad about Phil and then wake up the next day and be completely fine and unaffected.

    Thanks Alan.

    p.s.-Many need to learn about nonprofits. Nonprofits are allowed to make a profit. What they do with the profits are limited and they must serve a purpose in the/a community. Since the Tour donates 100’s of Millions of dollars a year, they’re clearly serving the communities they visit. There’s a lot more that could help your understanding but since some are seemingly struggling with just reading tough things about their guy, I’m not sure that it’ll help much.

    1. Well said! I heard Shipnuck on the No Laying Up podcast today. It was reported that Phil tried to screw Bones, his caddie out of 1 M…..that’s why they parted ways. Phil is not the guy everyone thinks he is.

  14. Thanks Alan for your kind words about Dave Finn (aka The Golf Fanatic). Dave, his Mom Vanessa and his Dad John are a fantastic family. Golf is the better for them.

  15. Looking forward to reading the book. Kudos to the author for his thorough research and ongoing insight into the PGA Tour.

  16. As much as I love Alan’s work over the years, reading the excerpt makes me not want to buy and read it. I am over listening to or about Phil. Time marches on and I’m sure there are many stories to be written about the current guys on Tour.

  17. Curious to get more information on the audit of his finances. If it was just an audit of his tax returns, the gambling losses is pretty misleading, as you can only claim gambling losses to offset your gambling winnings. So if he claimed around $10M in gambling losses per year on his tax returns, he’d have claimed at least the same amount or more of gambling winnings in each year. If that’s the case, doesn’t necessarily make him look any better, but would really take the steam out of the headline.

    1. I don’t think anyone was suggesting Phil was cheating on his taxes by claiming all those gambling losses against income. The “forensic audit” likely was based on all of his financial records, not just tax returns.

      An audit like that is boils down to doing the math on legitimate money you can prove came in the door and went out the door. If you do all that and it doesn’t add up to what’s still in the bank, then that’s your gap. My take away was that after their analysis of the four years mentioned, they couldn’t account for about $40 million which they chalked up to gambling losses.

  18. I’ve read Shipnuck for years on golf.com. A serviceable golf writer, but not on the level of Bamberger, Gary Van Sickle, Kyle Porter or certainty John Feinstein. What is apparent to everyone except David is that AS appears to be releasing snippets of his book to inflict maximum damage to Phil Mickelson. The release date is the week of the PGA? Even Stevie Wonder can see what’s going on here.

  19. Laz Versalles

    It’s nice to see so many varying perspectives on:
    Phil
    Alan
    Non-profits
    Motivations, Financial and otherwise

    For those of you who have been along with us on this ride over the last year, we thank you for your continued support. To the newcomers, welcome! We have written stories, podcasts and videos. I highly recommend Blood Oil and Golf by Alan.

  20. The job of a journalist is NOT to play press secretary for an athlete. Obviously if or when we read the book in its entirety we can pass judgment on the efficacy of an author’s work. So we will see. I do not believe that any public figure should be exempt from scrutiny, no matter how much we like them. I have seen nothing so far that leads me to believe there are any egregious violations of journalistic ethics being published about Mr. Mickelson here.

  21. CrashTestDummy

    I’m guessing Shipnuck won’t be having many pros lining up to talk to him in the future. Lol.

  22. This SUCKS.
    I’ve had the pleasure of working with Phil as a locker room attendant. I witnessed Phil personally thanking every employee he encountered. While cleaning Phil’s golf shoes, I accidentally got a tiny smudge of polish on Phil’s Augusta jump logo. It was barely noticeable. I thought, well I can stuff it in the bottom of the bag or I can tell him and suffer the consequences. I said, Phil can you comeback into my work space. Knowing that that was a defining moment in his career, I knew that it would touch on his emotions. Like a truely great person and professional, he told me don’t worry about it and kindly tipped me. He treated every employee and every person with nothing but respect and gratitude. How anyone could say a bad word about this man is hard to believe. His parents taught him well. What he does in his own time is his business. Shame on you Mr. Shipnuck. We’ve heard of Arny’s army, well you will now have to deal with Phil’s Phan base. Watch your back! Good luck trying to interview any professional golfers being the back stabber you are.

  23. Will Rickie follow Phil to the LIV Tour or will he make more money as a game show host? “Rickie, I’d like to buy a vowel….”

  24. “he has not been adhering to his ballyhooed fasting regimen”
    Interesting observation……….
    This is not reporting, this is personal in nature, degrading and irrelevant to the story. Shame on you Alan. You are who I thought you were.
    Cannot put that in writing in 2022, sir.

  25. MITCHELL K SOSNOWSKI

    If true, I am most upset about Phil not paying his caddie. I hope that is another falsehood.
    As far as what Phil said about the PGA, really don’t care. It reminds me of baseball players vs baseball owners.
    If the golf world can forgive Tiger for sleeping with as many Denny’s waitresses as possible, then they should forget this too, in time.

  26. Thank you Alan for your sincere comments. Like Robert Caro with LBJ, I admire your tenacity to show all the sides of Phil, and engrossing yourself in your subject. What we all love, and what we all hate about Phil is that he is so human, with wonderful characteristics and flaws, and it appears your book endeavors to show that.

    Thank you.

  27. As an ardent Phil Phan, who has read everything I can find on him/watched him play for times, Iwill read your book. Here’s something: check out his horoscope at Astrotheme, if you haven’t already. Very Gemini/Scorpio. Fascinating.

  28. packfaninpackland

    The simple fact is, sometimes your heroes let you down. It happens. But it’s not just heroes, it can be family members, your spouse, close friends, people at work, whatever. We’re all human, and we’re flawed – to one degree or another. Not making any excuses for him ( or anyone for that matter ), but, it happens. It still hurts, but it happens.

    There’s a lot to like about Phil, but he ain’t perfect. And neither am I.

  29. This whole thing makes me sick. I’ve been a fan of Phils for over 30 years….. not only the third best golfer that ever lived he’s like Arnold Palmer in that he really gives back to all his fans. He’s spent thousands of hours signing autographs for fans while his cohorts just walk on by the kids and the fans. His generosity to all the people that help him is legendary. Is he perfect, hell no but he doesn’t deserves the emasculation he’s getting from Shipnuck. He’s always given the reporters and announcers a lot of time, always in good humor and honest. Now this shit head says Phil’s comments were on the record! Who actually believes that. The guys obviously pumped his book up at the cost of tearing down Phil. I hope Phil plays in the PGA next week and I know it’s gonna be tough on him with all the dumb questions he’s gonna get about this book and his reaction to the LIV tour. But just watch, the real fans will applaud him and cheer for him the whole week. We the real golf fans know and love Phil. Shame on you Mr Shipknuck.

  30. You should have omitted a few of Phil’s inflammatory comments from your reporting. He may have been under the influence of medication or alcohol and you showed no compassion. You could have followed up with Phil a day later and asked him if he wanted to stand by his comments and that you would print them.

    Did you mean to destroy Phil’s legacy ? Maybe. I cancelled my book order.

  31. Motto at valley Forge Military Academy,Courage,honor and Loyalty and my dad’s advice always stay with the one who brought you to the dance and never bite the hand that feeds you. Phil and his advisors don’t seem to understand loyalty to the PGA Tour and all the free marketing to build his name and brand,IMO.

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