Phil Mickelson faced some of the longest odds of his career at the PGA Championship, where he was an underdog to even make the cut.
But the 50-year-old long-shot lefty defied the odds, captured his sixth major title and delivered a blow to some sportsbooks that they hadn't felt since Tiger Woods last won the Masters.
Mickelson closed at 200-1 to win at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill and could be found upward of 300-1 at other sportsbooks. Jeff Sherman, a 20-year bookmaker and golf odds specialist with the SuperBook in Las Vegas, didn't recall Mickelson ever having longer odds at a major.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Mickelson is the first golfer with odds of 200-1 or longer to win a major since Louis Oosthuizen won the 2010 Open Championship at around 200-1.
Mickelson had not been in good form, and, leading into the tournament, the betting interest on him was slim. He attracted 1% of pre-tournament bets and 1% of the total money wagered on William Hill's odds to win the PGA Championship. The largest bet on Mickelson at 200-1 was $100 at William Hill. There were nearly five times more bets on Jordan Spieth than there were on Mickelson.
Yet, at such long odds, Mickelson was one of only six golfers in the field that would produce a net loser for William Hill's Nevada book, and when he jumped into contention on the weekend, the action on started pouring in and the liability grew.
"We lost low six figures overall [in Nevada]," William Hill assistant director of trading Adam Pullen told ESPN. "We lost over a million dollars when Tiger won the Masters a few years ago. I think this is probably the second-biggest [golf] loss after Tiger that we've had."
DraftKings, BetMGM and PointsBet also suffered overall net losses on the PGA Championship, the books said. BetMGM sportsbook director Jason Scott characterized the company's nationwide net loss on the tournament as a "little less" than seven figures.
Among the notable bets on Mickelson:
• DraftKings reported taking a $1,000 bet on Mickelson to win the tournament at 300-1 odds. The bet, which was placed Wednesday in New Jersey, just hours prior to the start of the first round, paid a net $300,000.
• On Sunday morning, at the FanDuel sportsbooks at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, a bettor placed a $12,500 bet on Mickelson at +300 and won a net $37,500.
• Also at FanDuel, a bettor hit a $60 two-leg parlay that included LeBron James posting a double-double in the Los Angeles Lakers' playoff game against the Phoenix Suns and Mickelson winning the PGA Championship. The $60 parlay won $41,138.
Among the odds that Mickelson defied:
• On Thursday, during an uneven opening front nine, Mickelson's odds traded as long as 420-1 at FanDuel.
• Despite owning a one-shot lead entering Sunday, Mickelson was not the favorite heading into the final round and saw his odds decrease to +600 after surrendering the lead to Brooks Koepka on the first hole.
• Mickelson was a +115 underdog to make the cut at Circa Sports in Las Vegas. Mickelson being in the mix on the weekend fueled record betting interest on the PGA Championship at PointsBet.
"The PGA Championship proved to be our most bet golf event ever," PointsBet communications director Patrick Eichner said. "While it was great to see Phil win as a fan of the game, from the book's perspective, the result dinged us pretty good."
Mickelson is 66-1 to win next month's U.S. Open at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.