Most people that follow golf on the PGA Tour know that Phil Mickelson enjoys wagering. Lefty enjoys betting with fellow competitors, and has been known to rub his winnings in the faces of his colleagues, like the time he made copies of the $100 bills he took from Tiger. However, Mickelson doesn’t seem to enjoy the fact that a newcomer on the tour took some money off him just a few weeks ago.
“We get on the first tee, it’s pretty early in the morning and he says, ‘I don’t wake up this early to play for any less than $2,500’,” Ruffels recalled of a friendly offer made to him by Mickelson. The 42-time US PGA Tour winner gave Ruffels 2-1 odds; if Ruffels won, Mickelson would give him $5,000, if he lost, Ruffels would have to pay up $2,500 when he turned professional.
“I was a few down through nine but then I birdied six of my last seven to win by one shot and took his money, so that was pretty cool,” Ruffels said with a laugh.
Oh, and because Ruffels was also playing with Phil’s brother, Tim Mickelson, who is the head golf coach at Arizona State, there were conspiracy theories that this was some giveaway to the 17-year-old that the NCAA might have an interest investigating.
As soon as the story went viral, young Ruffels and his management team started to backtrack — saying he had already turned pro (or planned to turn pro), the amount was greatly exaggerated, and that the story contained plenty of inaccuracies. “The ‘friendly wager’ and the birdie barrages’ reporting is a bit overdone.”
The story was already out before Mickelson made his 2016 debut last week in Palm Springs. It did not come up then, but with the return to Torrey Pines, site of the wager, and with Ruffels making his pro debut this week, Mickelson decided to address it on Wednesday. And, boy, did he not have time for this 17-year-old’s s**t: Read more about Mickelson’s response here.