Phil Mickelson once brilliantly hustled a group of people on a boxing bet

Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson once brilliantly hustled a group of people on a boxing bet

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Phil Mickelson once brilliantly hustled a group of people on a boxing bet

Phil Mickelson is notorious for his love of gambling on the golf course. We mean that in multiple ways.

Yes, Lefty is adept at taking on the risky shot, but he’s also a brilliant bettor on the links. You can find two hilarious stories of his on-course betting right here.

But the following story beats those both.

The Action Network’s Jason Sobel relayed Wednesday an epic betting tale from five years ago about Mickelson. Sobel is a golf writing veteran, as he worked in that capacity for a long time for ESPN and Golf Channel, so he’s been around to see a lot.

As Sobel tells it, this Mickelson anecdote is about betting off the golf course. But it is well worth everyone’s time.

Anyway, during the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship pro-am, Mickelson apparently invited Sobel and a couple other media members to an event Saturday night: Mickelson had rented out a Wolfgang Puck restaurant for a night of fun, with food and drinks and NBA and NHL playoff games streaming on the TVs there as would the main event, a Floyd Mayweather fight against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.

PGA Tour players, caddies, staffers, and now a few reporters would be there to soak it all in free. Obviously Sobel and Co. jumped on it, and Mickelson proved to be a gracious host.

And then, the twist.

Prior to the pay-per-view undercard for the Mayweather fight, Mickelson stood up in front of the gathered crowd and suggested that betting was encouraged. Not much came of it in the first fight of the undercard, but then devious Phil came out.

As Sobel relayed, Mickelson got up in front of everyone again prior to the second fight (between Alexander Munoz and Leo Santa Cruz) and explained that Munoz was a much more experienced fighter and Santa Cruz was moving up a weight class that night (clearly indicating that Munoz was the sizable favorite).

Mickelson then added, I’m sort of liking this young kid. If anyone wants the favorite, I’ll take that bet at even money.

Oh, did the assembled party take the bait from Phil Mickelson, gambling hustler. Several in attendance put up wagers of at least $100 and some way more. But Mickelson knew what he was doing.

What he hadn’t mentioned in his description was that Santa Cruz had gone 5-0 the previous year and was a rising star. Predictably, the youngster won and Mickelson cleaned up.

Classic.

And Mickelson’s commitment to the hustler role truly shined when he acted like an innocent, lucky man after Santa Cruz won.

This is delicious, per Sobel:

Mickelson circled the room, plucking cash from all of those hands that had been so eagerly raised before the fight. He played the part of dumbfounded champion to perfection. “I’m really sorry about that,” he said to one guy. “Man, I just got lucky,” he said to another. That sly smile never left his face.

By the time he got to me for that $100, I think he was out of innocent excuses already. “Thanks,” he whispered as he placed my five 20s into his growing stack.

Oh man, what a Phil story! Sobel astutely pointed out, too, that with this brilliant gambit, Mickelson may’ve made a profit from a night where he had rented out a restaurant and paid the tab for food and drinks.

So let this be a lesson: Lefty may no longer be a young star, but don’t think his wits haven’t remained sharp. Otherwise, you may be out some cash.

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