‘You don’t have a choice’: Webb Simpson explains his unexpected money game with Phil Mickelson

Webb Simpson might not strike golf fans as a big-time bettor on the golf course, but he does like to have a little skin in the game. It helps him stay interested.

“I’ll go on the course by myself to practice,” said Simpson, on the most recent episode of GOLF’s Subpar Podcast. “But I need somebody to go bet against to really feel like [I’m into it].”

Simpson, as the podcast’s hosts pointed out, has made over $42 million in his career and is 19th all-time on the money list. But what’s the most he’s ever bet on the golf course? He says he doesn’t like to play for too much, but of course his answer to the question involves Phil Mickelson.

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“So my first Presidents Cup in Australia [in 2011], I’m playing in a practice round with Phil and [Jim] Furyk, and on the way to the tee — Bubba [Watson] had played the Ryder Cup in Wales in 2010 — and Bubba said, ‘Just to let you know, we’re probably going to be playing for a thousand dollars today.’ I’m like, What do you mean? What if I don’t want to? And he’s like, ‘Well, you are playing with Phil, you don’t have a choice. I’m just letting you know.’ He’s like, ‘I don’t want to play for that, but that’s what we’re playing for.’ So we did.”

Mickelson’s betting stories are the stuff of legend. There was that time he took Tin Cup crew members’ money on the movie set, the time he played mental games with Keegan Bradley, the time he made sure Nick Watney was aware of the conversion rate and many, many more we’ll probably never hear about. But on this day, Simpson got the better of Mickelson.

“Bubba and I won,” Simpson continued, “and I said, Hey Bubba, Jim can pay you. I want Phil to pay me, so I can always say I’m a thousand up on Phil. Never gonna bet him again.”

Simpson, however, did give Mickelson an out.

“That [amount] probably didn’t even get him excited that day,” he said.

You can listen to Simpson’s complete Subpar episode below, in which he talks about how his dad helped him meet his wife, his battle with the shanks, winning the U.S. Open, his special coffee recipe and more.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.