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Mickelson breaks gambling regulations

Phil Mickelson picked up $500 in a friendly wager that Jim Furyk would hole a bunker shot for par during a seven-hole playoff against Tiger Woods in the NEC Invitational.

Mickelson also violated PGA Tour policy by gambling.

Tour spokesman Bob Combs said Thursday that Mickelson and his victim, Mike Weir, committed a "technical violation" of tour regulations that prohibit placing bets on a golf tournament.

He said commissioner Tim Finchem would speak to both players to review the rules.

Golf World magazine reported the bet in this week's issue.

On the first playoff hole at Firestone Country Club, Furyk left his third shot in the bunker while Woods had a 35-foot birdie putt.

According to the magazine, Mickelson was in the players lounge when he turned to the table next to him and offered 25-1 odds that Furyk would hole out from the bunker.

Stewart Cink and David Toms both turned down the bet, but Weir accepted the $20 wager. Furyk holed the shot to extend the playoff.

Golf World said Weir realized he only had $100 on him.

"That's OK -- you can pay me in St. Louis," Golf World quoted Mickelson as saying.

His next tournament is the American Express Championship at Bellrive in two weeks.

Mickelson's agent was out of the office and could not immediately be reached for comment. Weir was playing the Air Canada Championship in Vancouver.

According to Section VI-B in the PGA Tour Player Handbook, "A player shall not have any financial interest, either direct or indirect, in the performance or the winnings of another player ... whether through purse-splitting, prize money 'insurance,' financial assistance, bets or otherwise."

The handbook says players are not to gamble or play cards on the premises where a PGA Tour event is being played.

"The tour's regulations regarding gambling are designed to ensure the integrity of the competition is preserved," Combs said.

"Although the incident reported involving Phil and others in no way compromised the integrity of the competition itself, it is a technical violation of the regulations prohibiting bets on a golf tournament."

Combs declined to say whether the players would be fined.

Perhaps Cink and Toms knew better than to bet with Mickelson. A year ago, before the NFL season started, he predicted on his Web site that the Baltimore Ravens would win the Super Bowl. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mickelson collected $560,000 on 28-1 odds.


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