Gambler, Convict Walters Turns Up Heat on Golfer Mickelson


AP Photo/Richard Drew

Las Vegas gambler William "Billy" Walters, right, leaves Manhattan federal court, in New York, Thursday, July 27, 2017. Walters, linked to golfer Phil Mickelson, was sentenced to five years in prison for his conviction on insider trading charges.

The 2018 Masters at Augusta National golf course ended Sunday with Patrick Reed taking home his first major championship in dramatic fashion.

Three-time Masters champ Phil Mickelson finished in a disappointing tie for 36th.

But the story about Mickelson wasn’t his golf.

ESPN investigative reporter Mike Fish published a pointed piece based on an interview with legendary sports bettor – and now incarcerated – Billy Walters – who is blaming Mickelson for much of his legal challenges in association with an insider trading case.

Mickelson bet with Walters and admitted using insider information to make nearly $2 million on stock in Dallas-based Dean Foods. But Mickelson wasn’t charged with a crime -- and he didn’t testify in Walters’ trial.

And in some sense in the interview with Fish, Walters seems to be laying out the idea that if Mickelson had testified he would have exonerated Walters, simply by the heft of his celebrity.

"I think he seems to be conflating the facts," John L. Smith told KNPR's State of Nevada, "The government's case was greater than one witness for sure."

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But the connection between the the gambler and the golfer does bring up some serious questions.

"The intriguing thing to me is it raises the question of whether a guy who is gambling in the millions with an extremely well-known - some would say and they would certainly say it now - notorious sports bettor, whether that professional athlete isn't due some kind of action by the league or the sport that he is involved with," Smith said.

Walters was convicted last year and sentenced to 5 years in prison with millions in fines and restitution.


Smith also gave us his take on the passing of longtime Las Vegas attorney John O'Brien and  The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute Believer Festival,


John L. Smith, contributor

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