By John Strege
Virtually no one other than its shareholders will sympathize with Irish bookmaking concern Paddy Power that it took a beating on Phil Mickelson's unexpected victory in the British Open last year, "the worst single event result we've ever had," its chief executive said.
Paddy Power is a publicly-traded company on both the London and Irish stock exchanges, requiring that it file annual reports. On Tuesday, it released its Preliminary Results Announcement for 2013, in which company chief executive Patrick Kennedy said this:
"Beware the British Open! We've had bad results here before (Harrington x2) but Mickelson winning, with other favourites featuring throughout our generous seven place each-way pay-out, was the worst single event result we've ever had (even more painful than the Yanks shouting 'get in the hole' after every shot!)."
The odds on Mickelson were 28/1 prior to his winning the Scottish Open the week before the British Open at Muirfield, after which they dropped to 18/1.
Paddy Power did not reveal the extent of its liability on Mickelson, but it wasn't the only bookmaker that suffered. Ladbrokes lost about eight million pounds (more than $13 million) on Mickelson bets, according to online-betting.me.uk. A William Hill spokesman, Rupert Adams, hinted an impending disaster. "With Mickelson in form and with us playing seven places punters have been lumping on him to both win and to place, we could see yet another million pound Mickelson liability," he told golfbettingpro.com.
Paddy Power, incidentally, still recorded record pre-tax profits of 141 million euros (more than $190 million).