Phil Mickelson lost $5,000 in a match to 17-year-old pro Ryan Ruffels
Golf Culture

Phil Mickelson lost in a match to 17-year-old pro Ryan Ruffels


Phil Mickelson took seriously his job as "interim assistant coach" for his brother Tim's men's golf program at their alma mater Arizona State University.

The five-time major winner was focused on teen Aussie sensation Ryan Ruffels, placing an unexpected call to him that was meant to spur the recruiting process. However, Ruffels ultimately chose the professional life, recently turning pro before announcing his choice to the world this week.

After turning pro, Ruffels took a trip to the States to check out the Tempe campus and play a round with Mickelson.

On the first tee, Mickelson made Ruffels an offer he couldn't refuse.

"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 said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Well, Ruffels isn't forking over $2,500 to Mickelson when he sees him again.

"I was a few down through nine," Ruffels said, "but then I birdied six of my last seven to win by one shot and took his money, so that was pretty cool."

However, the paper's report exaggerated the nature of the bet between the two players.

"At the time of the round I was already a professional, and had made it clear my intentions to not attend ASU or any college in Australia or the USA," Ruffels said on his social media accounts on Saturday. "The wager amount has also been exaggerated out of proportion.

"I value the relationship I have with Phil and his brother Tim, and it's one that I hope to have for many years. To have so many damaging inaccuracies in this is truly disappointing."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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