Phil Mickelson has been singing Jon Rahm’s praises since his brother was coaching the young Spaniard at Arizona State University. Turns out, he’s been making money off the new world No.1 since then too. As Mickelson is well aware, it pays to have insider info. Only this time, it was perfectly legal.
Thanks to Action Network’s Jason Sobel, golf fans were made aware of an incredible bet Mickelson placed on Rahm before he turned pro. During a weather delay at the 2016 FedEx St Jude Classic, Mickelson claimed Rahm would be in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking within a year. And fellow PGA Tour pro Colt Knost bit. Hard.
To be fair to Knost, it was a pretty bold claim by Mickelson. Sure, the five-time Major champ had gotten to know and play with Rahm through his brother – after witnessing a 62 at Whisper Rock Golf Club, Mickelson said he only wanted to partner with Rahm in money games because he couldn’t beat him – but the up-and-comer would have no status on any professional tour. And obviously, climbing into the top 10 is something a lot of great golfers have never accomplished in their careers.
So, as Sobel tells is, Knost even gave Mickelson 2-to-1 odds on an undisclosed amount of money. Again, a seemingly pretty smart bet on his part.
“I told a tonne of people about this bet and everyone was agreeing with me,” Knost, who retired from competitive golf earlier this year, told Sobel. “Everyone was like, ‘You know how hard it is to get to top-10 in the world?’”
But, well, you can guess where this is going.
After finishing leading amateur at the 2016 US Open to move up to 551st, Rahm finished T-3 in his first event as a pro and began rocketing up the world ranking. By the time he claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory at Torrey Pines the next January, he had already moved up to 46th. Still, he had some work to do.
But a T-2 at Colonial just a few weeks before the 12-month deadline got it done. Rahm was officially a top-10 player at age 22. And Mickelson was a bit richer for it.
So how much was the wager for?
“There was a comma involved,” Knost told Sobel. “Let’s just say it hurt me more than it helped Phil.”
Sorry, Colt. At least you didn’t also bet against Rahm making it to world No.1.