Idiot of the Day award goes to…

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated:

I don’t know if Phil is more ticked off about losing $5,000 to the kid or the fact that it revives his gambling nature, something he’s tried to polish since he unwisely talked about some big NFL bets he won early in his career and unfounded rumors that dogged him for years about having a gambling problem.

Unfounded, right.  Because this wasn’t in the news seven months ago

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Nearly $3 million transferred from golfer Phil Mickelson to an intermediary was part of “an illegal gambling operation which accepted and placed bets on sporting events,” according to two sources and court documents obtained by Outside the Lines.

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16 Responses to Idiot of the Day award goes to…

  1. Kris says:

    Phil Mickelson has a gambling problem. He’s rich enough that he can compensate for it, but it seems like he can’t do anything without gambling. He also thinks his money will protect him from consequences, and so far it has. There’s only so much benefit of the doubt you can give before you have to accept that Phil Mickelson is shady. He belongs in prison or gamblers anonymous, not on a golf course.

    • Sports-realist. says:

      not sure about prison, but what this AGAIN shows is the PGA/Finchem doesn’t care….They really don’t….They catch the ranked 578th player in the world, to show they HAVE a drug testing policy–as lame it gets, but otherwise, personal conduct is a thing of the past…..
      Ofcourse money/shadiness tend to go hand in hand, just check out politicians who leave office MUCH richer, than when they got in……But prison? I don’t know….Heavy fines usually cover a myriad of sins, when it comes to this stuff…..

      • Sports-realist. says:

        Like Lanny mentioned before…Phil makes around $40 mill a year, most likely with no debts, and can count on another couple hundred million to enter his pocket before his career/endorsements run dry….
        To Phil vs avg Joe….$5000 is like change you find in Phil’s car….It means NOTHING to Phil…..If you use a relative math equation: Say avg Joe makes $40 grand….1% to Joe would be $400…Even Joe wouldn’t think too hard on spending that amount….Joe could blow it at the casino or racetrack or betting with a friend on something….He just wouldn’t do it all too often….
        .
        To Phil, on the other hand, HIS 1% is around $400,000……His POINT one% would be $40,000, and his POINT zero one% would be $4000(or $4 bucks for avg Joes wallet)……

        Phil KNOWS he has the senior tour and endorsements for his future, so he knows he is set for life and then some……Rich people get very BORED, especially competitive rich athletes, aka Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley ect…They will bet on anything, and Phil is no different…..
        This is why I said before, that Tiger Woods did what he did with all the chicks….It gave his a thrill, FAR beyond, just sitting with the wife, and playing with the kids…..There is NO doubt in my mind, that Woods will eventually return, if he hasn’t already, to that same way of life…..When you are BORED and RICH, that can be a very dangerous equation..

  2. Way to miss the point of the article, though, chaps. Larry was pointing out the sloppy use of language by one of the leading scribes in the mainstream golf press. That Lefty is a rich, mug punter who may well be beyond redemption is not disputed. The real question is whether the mainstream golf press is so deeply in thrall to certain persons that it cannot report on them with anything remotely approaching impartial objectivity.

    • lannyh says:

      Well, we also have something of a running thread regarding Mickelson spanning multiple articles over the past few days, so I wouldn’t say anyone missed the point.

      You got me to thinking about whether this was sloppy language or deliberate narrative-shaping by Van Sickle. I’m not sure. Maybe golf reporters hear (and help craft) the narratives so constantly that the “cute/exciting wow-wee gambling stories” override everything else so that the seediness of the $3 million/money-laundering thing, to them, is like a gnat to an elephant and is immediately forgotten, changing nothing of their internal conception of “Phil.” They spent decades defining “Phil” to the public and to themselves, and changing facts just don’t stand a chance.

  3. Yes, a good question well asked. I’m as guilty as Van Sickle; I should have written “… the sloppy use of language (whether inadvertent or otherwise)”.

  4. Ken says:

    If Mickelson has a gambling problem, so do a number of people that I know, including my brother-in-law. They always play for money on the golf course (to my annoyance – I play golf just to play). They have bets on pro sports games with their buddies all the time. They have multiple teams in fantasy sports leagues for every sport. The only difference between them and Mickelson is that they might have a $10 bet on a game, maybe a couple of hundred at most committed to some fantasy league. For Mickelson, 100 times those amounts is nothing.

    None of the people that I know have a gambling problem. If they did, their bills would be unpaid and their families would lack for needed things. None of that is true. None of that is likely true for Mickelson either, who seems to be a devoted husband and father and has tremendous amounts of money. Mickelson lives in a world few of us will ever know. He has nearly inexhaustible resources and even at 45 will make many tens of millions of dollar in earning on and off the golf course. He can lose $1 million on a wager and it just doesn’t mean anything nor is it indicative of a problem. It’s just his world.

    • lannyh says:

      Does your brother-in-law send $3 million checks to money-laundering criminals? Is your brother-in-law being investigated for insider trading of short-term stock options?

      If the FBI puts Mickelson in prison, will you admit then he’s not a hero?

      • Ken says:

        Deal. I’ll admit then that he’s not a hero when the FBI locks him up. I don’t recall ever proposing that he was a hero now.

        When he’s convicted of something, I’ll acknowledge that he’s a criminal. Until then, I’ll presume his innocence.

      • lannyh says:

        In my book, staying out of prison is not the benchmark for making someone a hero.

      • Ken says:

        Again Lanny, when did I ever propose that Phil Mickelson or any other pro athlete is a “hero?”

      • lannyh says:

        My point is that Mickelson is up to his neck in corruption. If he stays out of prison, that will not in any way, shape, or form change my impression of him. After O.J. was release, I did not say, “Well, gee, he was innocent! I’ll be darned!”

        Very likely Mickelson WILL stay out of prioson. He will likely flip and provide information about others, then he’ll make reparations “without any admission of wrongdoing.” Or, perhaps, they’ll say nothing at all. That’s how it works on Wall Street.

      • Ken says:

        Even if Mickelson is guilty of sending $3 million to some offshore gambling operation, again, he’s not legally much different than any other habitual gambler. All those office polls for the Super Bowl are technically illegal. March Madness polls? Illegal gambling. With people in Mickelson’s income bracket, the amounts are all greater by a mile. But at some level it’s still all illegal gambling unless you’re someplace like a legal gaming house in Las Vegas.

      • lannyh says:

        Good point. Mickelson’s behavior is exactly the same as everyone else’s. Except for that FBI thing.

      • Ken says:

        You’re probably being flippant and humoring me. And I’m really not defending the “hero” Mickelson’s possibly illegal activities. Although to be honest, what a person does with their money doesn’t matter to me. I don’t have a problem with people gambling their money away. But it really is a matter of degree. Joe Schmo puts $10 on a Super Bowl bet. Illegal. Mickelson puts down $1 million. Illegal. To Joe and Mickelson, it about the same level of exposure in terms of lost money. The government only cares about one of them

      • lannyh says:

        The government isn’t pursuing Mickelson for illegal gambling. They are pursuing him for illegal insider trading of stock options, which is sort of the opposite of “gambling.” He knew the outcome ahead of tome.

        The money laundering thing would indicate Mickelson was gambling illegally, yes, but that’s not what the FBI is investigating.

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