Phil Mickelson and his lawyer ripped into the Detroit News over a story that had no news value and was meant only to embarrass the six-time major champion as he prepared to make his first start in the state’s fledging PGA Tour event.
With a click-bait headline and a slanderous subtitle (Court file reveals PGA star Phil Mickelson placed big bets with a mob-connected…), writer Rob Snells repurposed an old, irrelevant story about a bet that was made over 20 years ago.
According to court filings acquired by the author, Mickelson was allegedly cheated out of $500,000 by a bookie named Don DeSeranno, who Snells described as “one of the biggest gamblers in Detroit history … who also handled bets for big shots as a Las Vegas casino host and book from 1994 to 2002.”
“It’s old news. And my client didn’t do anything wrong,” said Mickelson lawyer Gary Cohen in the hit piece.
Cohen told ESPN’s Bob Harig, “He didn’t say anything that wasn’t true; I’m not complaining about that.
“But why? Why are you going to embarrass Phil Mickelson when he’s there to support your tournament and the charities it supports and the (PGA) TOUR? Rocket Mortgage is a Detroit-based company. Phil has never played there before.
“I’m disappointed they would curiously pick this week to write an article about a bet that was made over 20 years ago and a jury trial that took place in 2007, where the guy who was convicted is dead and where the only purpose for this article is to embarrass Phil Mickelson.”
Responding to the author’s tweet, Mickelson wrote, “Took place 23 years ago. Had I not come here to Detroit it wouldn’t have run.
“My mistake making the effort to be here and have my foundation look into ways to help the local community. Didn’t even think of the opportunistic Rob Snells in the area would try and take advantage.”
Took place 23 years ago. Had I not come here to Detroit it wouldn’t have run.
My mistake making the effort to be here and have my foundation look into ways to help the local community. Didn’t even think of the opportunistic Rob Snells in the area would try and take advantage
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) July 1, 2021
Mickelson will be paired with Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama in the opening two rounds.