Phil Mickelson Paid $2 Million Gambling Debt — To Take 5th If Called As Witness [Opinion]

If someone as wholesome as Phil Mickelson can find himself in trouble with gambling debts, then just about anyone can. New reports have Mickelson, who is one of the most recognized pro-golfers in the world, paying off almost $2 million in gambling debts to professional gambler Billy Walters.

If Walters’ name sounds familiar, that is because this is not the first time Mickelson’s name has been affiliated with the gambler. Last year Mickelson was ordered by federal regulators to pay $1.1 million after receiving investment tips from Walters and financially benefiting from those tips.

“Mickelson was not charged with any wrong doing,” according to Golf.com. It was revealed in court documents that Mickelson paid Walters back in 2012 a total of $195 million to pay off his debts from gambling. Golf.com reports that the feds revealed how Mickelson realized somewhere in the vicinity of $1 million off the investment tips he obtained from Walters.

Just a few months after realizing the money from Walters’ tips, the pro-golfer paid Walters off that $195 million, according to the feds. Mickelson is not facing any charges in this court case, but his lawyer did say if the pro-golfer is called in as a witness to this case, he will be taking the Fifth Amendment.

It was a stock tip that Mickelson got from Walters that the golfer cashed in on, according to Dallas News. This tip is now a part of the insider-trading trial that is now taking place in federal court in Manhattan. Walters is accused of using insider trading deals to amass a fortune of $43 million in a six-year period.

The Las Vegas gambler received these tips from the man who was the chairman of Dean Foods Co. at the time, Tom C. Davis. Once Walters got the tip from Davis, he in turn shared that tip with Mickelson. The exact amount reported that Mickelson made from that tip was $931,000, and the money went right to Walters for payment toward his gambling debt.

This all took place back in 2012, a year in which Mickelson made a reported $48 million. The prosecutors told the jurors in the Manhattan courtroom that this wasn’t the first time Mickelson owed gambling debts to Walters. He has paid Walters off the debts he has owed in the past. The prosecutors cited records from Mickelson’s sports management firm regarding the payment of the debts.

The Dallas News describes Mickelson as “a major sideshow” in the high-profile trial of Walters. Mickelson was never slated to appear in court, although at one time they may have thought about calling him in as a witness.

Since Mickelson’s attorney had said that the golfer intends to plead the Fifth Amendment if he is indeed called to court as a witness, Walters’ attorney has no plans to bring Mickelson in. When news first broke of Mickelson’s potential involvement of this last year, it sent shock waves across the world of pro golfing.

According to USA Today in an article from last May, Phil Mickelson was named by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the federal insider trading lawsuit. He made nearly $1 million in trading using information that was not available to the public at the time, according to what the court documents said.

Mickelson was said to be an “innocent bystander” who was unaware of any wrongdoing at the time. He paid back all the profit realized from that insider trade, plus interest. He was never accused of violating any securities laws in any way.

Phil’s lawyer conveyed that his client had no interest in profiting from any SEC transactions deemed “questionable.” His lawyer also said back in 2016 that Phil felt vindicated when the news was released that he hadn’t violated any securities laws.

[Featured Image by Charlie Riedel/AP Images]