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Phil Mickelson is furious about the timing of a report in The Detroit News tying him to an alleged mob bookie who is said to have cheated the golfer out of $500,000 in gambling winnings, so much so that he says won’t be returning to the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit after this year.
A story by Robert Snell this week outlined a 2007 transcript from the racketeering trial of Jack Giacalone, who was “a reputed organized crime leader in Metro Detroit,” according to the report. “Dandy” Don DeSeranno — whom The Detroit News described as “one of the biggest gamblers in Detroit history” — said in the transcript he “couldn’t pay” Mickelson $500,000 after booking a bet for him.
Mickelson wasn’t accused of wrongdoing, per the report, and his attorney, Glenn Cohen told ESPN the story was true. But the pair are angry about the report coming after something they say happened more than 20 years ago.
“I feel that Rob Snell made an article this week that was very opportunistic and selfish and irresponsible,” Mickelson said Thursday after shooting 3-under 69 in the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.
The 51-year-old Mickelson was particularly upset because he says he normally wouldn’t play this week amid a busy schedule, but wanted to help the tournament. He said that after becoming the oldest golfer to win a major when he took home the PGA Championship in May, he put a lot of preparation into last month’s U.S. Open before playing at the Travelers Championship last week.
He’s at Detroit this week before teaming up with Tom Brady in “The Match” on Tuesday to face Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers. Mickelson will then play in the British Open in two weeks.
“It was so much effort for me to be here and to have that type of unnecessary attack — not like I care, It happened 20-something years ago — but it’s just the lack of appreciation,” Mickelson said. “Yeah, I don’t see that happening. I don’t see me coming back. Not that I don’t love the people here. They have been great. But not with that type of thing happening.”
Cohen told ESPN that Mickelson and some friends bet on sports and pooled together money for a large bet. He claimed the report was designed to “embarrass” Mickelson.
“The bottom line is Phil wasn’t paid. The guy who took the bet turned out to be a crook and Phil didn’t know it. But it’s irrelevant,” Cohen said. “Whether this guy was the worst human being alive or had anything to do with Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, what is the newsworthiness of this article now? There isn’t any.”
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