Phil Mickelson not only struck a blow for 50-somethings with his PGA Championship victory Sunday, but the ever-popular “Lefty” also dealt a blow to sportsbooks.
“Lost pretty good. Six figures,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said via text message after Mickelson, 50, became the oldest golfer to win a major with his victory at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
William Hill took two $100 wagers that paid $20,000 each on Mickelson at 200-1 odds to win his sixth career major.
Eight years removed from his last major victory and more than two years after his last PGA Tour win, Mickelson was as high as a 300-1 long shot before the PGA Championship.
DraftKings sportsbook also lost on Mickelson, as bettors won $300,000 on a $1,000 wager at 300-1 and $91,000 on a $364 bet at 250-1.
Countless other bettors backed Mickelson at adjusted odds throughout the tournament, including one who turned a $178 wager into $17,800 at 100-1 odds after the first round, when he was three shots back.
“There are a bunch out there like that. We had tons of money on Phil,” DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello said. “When you have a whole cast of great players, it means the odds on guys like Phil will be way up there.
“It’s a great story, and I don’t think anybody expected to see it. But it happened for Phil, it’s good for the game of golf and good for bettors.”
Not all books lost big on Mickelson. The Westgate broke even on the pretournament odds, adjusted odds and in-play wagering on him.
The book took only 15 pretournament bets on Mickelson, with the largest payout $4,500 for an $18 wager at 250-1 odds.
“We always have liability on him in a major. But there wasn’t much support for him pretournament,” Westgate vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said. “I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have liability on him in a major. And those are the longest odds I can remember him having.”
Mickelson’s odds dropped to 14-1 after the second round, when he was tied for the lead with Louis Oosthuizen, and a Westgate bettor won $14,000 on a $1,000 wager.
Mickelson was the 3-1 second choice behind Brooks Koepka entering the final round. But he pulled away from Koepka early and hung on to win the Wanamaker Trophy by two strokes.
Before the PGA Championship, Mickelson was a 150-1 long shot to win the U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam.
After his historic victory, Sherman projects Mickelson to be 50-1 to win the year’s third major from June 17 to 20 at Torrey Pines in San Diego.