Five-time major winner and one of the PGA Tour’s most popular players, Phil Mickelson, has been linked to a multi-million dollar illegal gambling and offshore money laundering operation.
According to two sources and court documents obtained by ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Mickelson placed bets on sporting events with the help of an intermediary.
A 56-year-old former sports-gambling handicapper Gregory Silveira of La Quinta, California, pleaded guilty to laundering approximately $2.75 million that allegedly belonged to the 45-year-old golf icon.
Mickelson faces no charges for his participation in the operation because federal gambling laws apply only to gambling enterprises, not individual bettors.
The left-handed San Diego native has long demonstrated a penchant for placing wagers on sporting events. The San Diego Reader reported that, “During practice rounds Mickelson has been known to make spontaneous wagers…that are overheard by the gallery.”
One bet with Canadian golfer Mike Weir during a round earned him a $500 fine from the PGA tour. Lefty gave Weir 25-1 odds that another player, Jim Furyk, would hole a sand shot.
Mickelson and a syndicate famously wagered $20,000 down on the 2001 Super Bowl and won a reported $560,000. Moreover, it has been reported that he profited handsomely on the Arizona Diamondbacks (38-1) World Series upset of the New York Yankees. It was a home-boy bet for Mickelson, a standout college golfer at Arizona State.
ESPN said that neither Mickelson nor Silveira could be reached for comment regarding the allegations.
In 2014, Mickelson was mentioned in a federal insider-trading investigation involving investment tycoon Carl Icahn and iconic sports gambler/entrepreneur Billy Walters. Mickelson has been cleared of all allegations.
Breitbart News reported earlier this month that the PGA Tour star ranked as the 8th-highest paid athlete in the world last year by earning over $50 million.