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McIlroy takes jab at Mickelson over Ryder Cup betting claim

Rory McIlroy Phil Mickelson McIlroy and Mickelson - The Canadian Press

Rory McIlroy couldn't resist a taking a jab at Phil Mickelson when asked Thursday about a claim by renowned gambler Billy Walters that the 53-year-old golf star has wagered more than $1 billion over the past 30 years and tried to bet on the Ryder Cup.

In his soon-to-be released book, Walters writes that Mickelson wanted to place a $400,000 bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup while playing for Team USA.

“At least he can bet on the Ryder Cup this year because he won't be part of it,” joked McIlroy, who was named to Team Europe for the 2023 event earlier this week.

McIlroy and Mickelson have been at odds for more than a year with Mickelson becoming the face of players defecting the PGA Tour to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf. Mickelson is currently ineligible for the Ryder Cup, along with all LIV Golf players.

Mickelson denied ever betting on the Ryder Cup in a statement responding to Walters' claims Thursday.

“While it is well known that I always enjoy a friendly wager on the course, I would never undermine the integrity of the game," Mickelson said.

Walters writes in an excerpt that he received a phone call from Mickelson during the Ryder Cup in 2012 at Medinah. He said Mickelson was so confident he asked Walters to bet $400,000 for him on the U.S. winning.

“I could not believe what I was hearing,” Walters wrote. “'Have you lost your [expletive] mind?' I told him, ‘Don’t you remember what happened to Pete Rose?' The former Cincinnati Reds manager was banned from baseball for betting on his own team. ‘You’re seen as a modern-day Arnold Palmer,’ I added. ‘You’d risk all that for this?’ I want no part of it.”

He said Mickelson replied, “Alright, alright.”

“I have no idea whether Phil placed the bet elsewhere. Hopefully, he came to his senses,” Walters wrote.

Europe rallied from a 10-6 deficit on Sunday, staging the greatest comeback by a visiting team. Mickelson and Keegan Bradley won three straight matches before Mickelson urged U.S. captain Davis Love III to rest them Saturday afternoon