Mickelson Backtracks on Tax Comments


At the end of last Sunday's Humana Challenge, where he finished tied for 37th to earn a $22,400 paycheck in his season debut, Phil Mickelson publicly complained about the onerous tax situation in California and mentioned that he was considering moving away from his home state.

"It's been an interesting off-season," he said at the tournament site in La Quinta, Calif. "And I'm going to have to make some drastic changes. I'm not going to jump the gun and do it right away, but I will be making some drastic changes."

The 42-year-old, who grew up in San Diego and now resides in nearby Rancho Santa Fe, said he would further discuss his future plans this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, which starts Thursday at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

"I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to do yet," he told reporters. "I'll probably talk about it more in depth next week. I'm not going to jump the gun, but there are going to be some. There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and it doesn't work for me right now."

But on Monday Mickelson backtracked from those comments, noting in a statement, "Finances and taxes are a personal matter, and I should not have made my opinions on them public. I apologize to those I have upset or insulted, and assure you I intend not to let it happen again."

He added, "I certainly don't have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family."

Mickelson was miffed when, in November, California voters approved the first statewide tax increase since 2004. To Mickelson, the tax hike is troublesome.

"If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate's 62, 63 percent," said Mickelson, who earned about $60 million in 2012 and whose tax increase alone would amount to more than $1.8 million.

Many PGA Tour make their homes in Florida or Texas, neither of which has a state income tax. Tiger Woods, a Southern California native like Mickelson, moved to Orlando long ago to avoid California's income tax.

When asked about Mickelson comments during a Tuesday Q&A with reporters before the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods said, "I moved out of here back in '96 (because of the tax issue)."

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