Phil Mickelson will be in gambler Billy Walters’ book. Walters reveals why.

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson at the 2006 Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where gambler Billy Walters said he first met him.

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A well-known gambler who went to prison for insider trading says he is detailing his six-year relationship with Phil Mickelson in an upcoming book in order “to clear up what really took place there, what didn’t take place.”

In an interview that was broadcast on Thursday night on vsin.com, Billy Walters did not get into specifics on what would be in the book, which is being co-written by journalist Armen Keteyian and will be released in mid-August. But he said his reason for including Mickelson should not be interpreted as “whining.”

“I hate whiners,” Walters said during the interview with longtime broadcaster Brent Musberger. “I hate whiners worse than anyone in the world, OK. Whether it be a star athlete who complained about getting a bad call or whether it be someone in life who’s [not] fortunate enough, so anything that I say to you or I say in this book, please, I hope anyone doesn’t interpret it as being whining because I’m not whining. I went to trial in Southern District of New York, I was found guilty, so officially I’m a convicted felon, I’m guilty of insider training, OK. 

“But there were a number of things in that trial that didn’t come down the way they should have, it hasn’t been disclosed to the public, and I’m going to merely put in some things that the public is not aware of about both my relationship with Phil and with what took place in that trial, and I’ll let the public decide for themselves whether I was guilty or innocent from their personal standpoint. 

“But the book, the question you asked me, whether it’s that or anything else in the book, this is not a vanity book; this is a real book. And there’s lots of things in the book I’m not proud of. But what’s in the book when the reader reads it, they’re going to see that I’ve shared everything with them. It’s a long answer to a question you asked me about Phil, but unfortunately, it involves the gambling, the personal relationship, but it also involves the trial in the Southern District of New York. I’ll be able to clear up what really took place there, what didn’t take place.”

Walters’ book and interview come after the now-76-year-old was convicted of insider trading in 2017 and sentenced to a five-year prison term. Mickelson was named as a relief defendant — which means not accused of wrongdoing — and according to the lawsuit, Mickelson was in gambling debt to Walters, received a stock tip from him and earned nearly $1 million through it. 

The six-time major champion also did not testify in the trial, and in the vsin.com interview, Walters said he believed if he had, Walters would not have been found guilty. 

“I think that’s in the public already out there,” Walters said in the interview. “And I think I’ve already said that, and yes, that’s true.”  

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Also in the vsin.com interview, Walters described when he first met Mickelson, at the 2006 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Walters said he had been playing with pro Fredrik Jacobson, and they were grouped with Mickelson in the final round. 

“Clearly I knew who he was,” Walters said in the interview. “I got a real strong impression that he knew who I was because the first round of golf, we talked about sports from the time we teed off until the time we came in.”

Musberger then had this exchange with Walters. 

“I was around a bookmaker in Las Vegas who said that Phil Mickelson came in and made a big preseason bet on the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl the year they won it,” Musberger began. “And he said, Phil’s been losing to me ever since. And he won that. But Phil winds up owing you a lot of money. Does that come about through sports betting, or I can’t imagine — you’re a good golfer — but I can’t imagine you beating Phil regularly.” 

“Well, first of all, you’re right — I never beat him regularly playing golf while we played golf together,” Walters said in the interview. “I would probably say it was tit for tat. But as far as Phil owing me any money, we had a gambling relationship that lasted for six years. From my perspective, I think it was more — I think we became friends. 

“The book that I’ve written, it will go into detail about what that relationship was. It will also include — you haven’t asked me this question, but it included the trial that I was involved with.” 

Editor’s note: To watch the entire vsin.com interview with Walters, please click here.  

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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