How Phil Mickelson played with Gary McCord at PGA Tour events

Phil Mickelson’s gambling habits are slowly becoming the stuff of legend — or shame, depending on who you ask.

The 51-year-old golfer, who opted not to play in this week’s PGA Championship due to controversy over his involvement in a Saudi-backed league, is the subject of an upcoming biopic titled “Phil”. Writer Alan Shipnuck spoke to Gary McCord, a longtime golf analyst for CBS, who had some crazy revelations about playing with Mickelson live at games while he was playing.

An excerpt from the book was shared with the Times of London.

“When I was in the TV tower, Phil always came to my hole, Bones [his caddie Jim Mackay] would look up to me and I would flash the odds,” McCord said. “If Phil had a 15 footer, I would show three fingers, which meant the odds were 3-1. If he was 60 feet I’d give him 2-1 on a two putt. Bones went down and whispered in his ear and Phil looked up at me and shook his head yes or no.

“I can’t tell you how many balled up 20s I threw out of the tower until the tour found out and I found out through CBS that I wasn’t allowed to play with Phil while I was up in the tower.”

Phil Mickelson during the PIF Saudi International
Phil Mickelson during the PIF Saudi International
Getty Images

You read that right: Mickelson bet on himself during PGA Tour matches with an announcer who literally threw cash out of the tower.

The fact that they only bet 20s is somewhat surprising considering an earlier excerpt from the same book revealed that Mickelson lost a staggering $40 million gambling from 2010-2014. That said, they’d done it enough to boil it down to simple hand signals, so maybe those 20s added up over the years.

A former professional golfer, McCord worked at CBS from 1986 until his release from the network in 2019. He was known as one of the most colorful personalities in the golf world.

Gary McCord
Gary McCord
Getty Images

Mickelson’s absence from this week’s PGA Championship will likely be a big story given he is the defending champion who won at Kiawah Island last year at the ripe age of 50. How Phil Mickelson played with Gary McCord at PGA Tour events


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