Phil Mickelson Faces More Off-Course Issues Outside of Saudi Golf Affiliation
Oisin Keniry/Getty Images. Pictured: Phil Mickelson.
The worst might not be behind Phil Mickelson.
After Mickelson’s dance with the Saudi Golf League caused controversy, excerpts from Alan Shipnuck’s unauthorized biography called “Phil” shared that the golfer lost more than $40 million gambling from 2010-14.
But people close to Mickelson reportedly told ESPN that he’s more worried about a book that will come out next year — the memoir of gambler Billy Walters, which is being co-authored by Armen Keteyian.
Walters blamed Mickelson for his five-year prison sentence, which he began serving in 2017 after being convicted on 10 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud relating to getting inside information on Dean Foods stock over a seven-year period that resulted in $44 million in gains.
The story goes that Mickelson owed Walters $2 million, so, in 2012, Walters allegedly told Mickelson about a Dean Foods tip. Mickelson made $931,000 and gave it to Walters.
Walters denied that this was the case, but, when it came time for the trial, Mickelson pleaded the fifth.
Mickelson was named by the FBI on a non-criminal complaint and was forced to pay the money back plus interest. Walters was forced to pay back $44 million and go to jail.
On his way to prison in 2017, he took a shot at Mickelson to ESPN.
“Here is a guy that all he had to do was come forward and tell the truth?” Walters said then. “That was all he had to do. The guy wouldn’t do that because he was concerned about his image. He was concerned about his endorsements.”
“My god, in the meantime a man’s life is on the line,” Walters said. He’s going to go to prison. And you got prosecutors up there during the entire trial, the entire month — all they talked about over and over is me giving my friends inside information. That is all they talked about. And they knew those jurors were all up on the internet reading that stuff about Phil (profiting from the Dean Foods stock purchase).”
Walters was sent home May 2020 due to COVID-related concerns. He was granted clemency by outgoing President Donald Trump a year later.
The White House, in the clemency release, said that Walters release was supported by a letter from Phil Mickelson, but Mickelson’s lawyers later told the press that he did not in fact pen a letter of support.
Mickelson did not play in the 2022 Masters and withdrew from this week’s PGA Championship despite behind the defending champion.
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