Lanny Wadkins doubles down on Phil Mickelson comments, says he'd be 'gambling in a ditch somewhere' if not for golf

September 14, 2023

Mike Stobe

It's safe to say Lanny Wadkins isn't the biggest Phil Mickelson fan these days.

The 21-time PGA Tour winner and former Ryder Cup captain was asked last month on Golf Channel about the LIV golfer after Mickelson's gambling habits—including allegedly trying to bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup—were revealed in a book by famed gambler Billy Walters. And Wadkins didn't hold back.

"I don't know if there has ever been a more disappointing figure in the game of golf than Phil Mickelson," Wadkins said in an apperance on "Golf Today."

"Seeing what's transpired with him over the last 10-plus years, I mean, he was a beloved figure for a long time," Wadkins added, referring to Mickelson leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. "We all marveled at the way he could play, but nothing looks kosher about what he's doing these days."

In a statement to Golf Digest, Mickelson said he "never bet on the Ryder Cup."

A month later, Wadkins did a Q&A with Golfweek in Austin to promote a redesign his design firm made to Lost Creek Golf Club, which will now be known as Westlake Country Club. And when the subject of Mickelson came up, he doubled down on his comments.

"Well, I was supposed to be on the show answering a question about my PGA win and they throw that out there. But the truth is Phil’s disappointing," Wadkins told Golfweek. "I mean we all love Phil and watched him play. He was a rookie on my Ryder Cup team and played very well. He went 3-0. He and Amy were dating, they weren’t even married at that point in time. But to do the stuff he’s done and, you know, cause the problems he’s caused and the friction he’s caused, and the divisiveness in golf he’s caused.

"If it wasn’t for golf, where would Phil Mickelson be? You know, he’d be gambling in a ditch somewhere. So, you know, It’s not good. I think he owes more to the game than what he’s done," Wadkins added. "No question he would have been a captain, probably a two-time captain. He probably would have been the captain next time at Bethpage Black when it comes over here. Instead, it’ll probably be Tiger."

Zach Johnson will captain the U.S. in two weeks in Rome. The 2025 Ryder Cup is scheduled for Bethpage Black on Long Island.

Wadkins captained the U.S. to a 14.5 to 13.5 defeat at Oak Hill in 1995. That happened to be Mickelson's Ryder Cup debut—and best Ryder Cup performance—as he went 3-0. Wadkins and Mickelson each have 21.5 career points in the event, the most of any living American.