According to the IRS he lost 40 million dollars gambling from 2010-2014. This is detailed in Alan Shipnuck’s unauthorized biography on Phil. Bones, his caddy of 20 plus years, fired him because Phil owed him several hundred thousand dollars. Phil was making $40 million per year, but after those brutal California taxes was netting about $20 million per year. He was living large, too.
I hate this for Phil who was one of my favorite players. His legacy and reputation are ruined by this compulsive gambling, just like it happened to John Daly.
About a year ago Phil was talking about moving to Florida to escape the tax burden.
Although that’s overstated. Cali only has the ninth highest total state tax burden at 9.72% according to wallethub.com. Which is only slightly higher than a couple of Midwest states, Iowa and Kansas.
Of course that includes property and sales taxes. Income tax alone, the top Cali marginal tax rate is 12.3%; Florida is zero. So for someone of Phil’s income level he’d be paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.9 million in taxes, assuming he had completely incompetent accountants who couldn’t find him any deductions. A lot of taxes, to be sure, but he’d only save that much by moving to Florida. Which would just give him a few million more to blow on bets, it appears.
Gambling among pro golfers is a way of life. Some say the pressure in a Tuesday practice round with lots of strange bets is much more severe than the pressure once the tournament starts. With the gambling now available on-line, I’ve always wondered what that does to the competition. I guess I still wonder that.
What a waste. When I think of all the good things he could have done with $40M…
Gambling addictions must be awful. Glad I never had one. I enjoy going to casinos once or twice every 2-3 years, but always limit what I’m willing to risk. I think that’s what most people do. But those people who blown thousands or millions on such a “thrill” baffle me.
Story about Augusta National & Phil… a few years back in late-Jan/early-Feb, Phil was playing in Augusta with the best member (Knox). They had a big game and Phil lost $30k, but didn’t pay. In early March, Phil reached out to the Chairman letting him know that he hadn’t received his invitation yet. The Chairman told him that he understood that there was an outstanding financial matter with a member that he needed to get resolved. A few days later it was, and then Phil received his formal invitation.
Dang Phil I sure hate you having to deal with that bad addiction that you’re struggling with.
Some folks I suppose would argue that you should have chosen a ahem more respectable addiction like
screwing other men’s girlfriends/wives.
There’s an amazingly amount of pressure on athletes. The added stresses Phil has to endure with his
wife and her disease I’m sure is no small task. Not an excuse, just additional info as to why it’s not wise to judge walking in another man’s shoes.
Here’s hoping the best for a speedy recovery Phil.
Then again, even though it’s not a healthy addiction, some can afford it and enjoy and grow accustomed to that lifestyle. To each his own kinda thing so who am I to say.
Well, put it another way, on years you win your gonna report it and pay tax on it? I’d be willing to bet (pun intended) some of Phil’s wins / losses came on the practice green. Not something you turn in to the CPA. And the 40 mil? Wonder how accurate that number is from Mr Un-authorized Biographer?
I wouldn’t be surprised if Phil doesn’t see his gambling as a problem. Like Michael Jordan, who likes the frequent bet, I suspect he rationalizes it as an outlet for his competitive drive. Even losing that much.
Amy Mickelson, however, might have a different view.
I have read that many PGA golfers view their entire career as gambling. They pay all their own expenses (from $400 tournament entry fees to travel, lodging, caddy, coaching, yadda yadda) and aren’t guaranteed to make a single dollar on tour. So the whole thing is a giant bet on themselves.
Why is his reputation ruined because of gambling. His only reputation to me is as a golfer. I still don’t know why professional athletes are supposed to be something more than athletes. Certainly they have the platform to be influential, but I don’t care if they aren’t. It’s not why I watch them. Maybe our media guide should list out all the reputations of our football players before they take the field, nah, that’s just silly.
The scene in “The Color of Money” One of my all time favorites. The kid beats the guy down, the opponent says he’s busted, done. So the kid says, ok, let’s play, play. Play for fun. The guy and Fast Eddie look at him and react like he has lost his mind completely.
My disdain for Mickelson has nothing to do with gambling. It is how rude he and his then girlfriend were to my cousin. She was a volunteer working a Byron Nelson tournament. She was one of the friendliest people you ever met and she was trying to help them.