Golfer cites higher federal and state taxes as reason for contemplating his options
LA QUINTA — San Diego professional golfer Phil Mickelson said after the final round of the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge that he will have to make "drastic changes" in his life because of the federal and state taxes he is paying, and he confirmed that his decision to not buy an interest in the Padres was directly related to his financial situation.
"I'll probably talk more in depth next week (at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines). I'm not going to jump the gun," Mickelson said. "There are going to be some drastic changes. I happen to be in the zone that is targeted both federally and by the state, and it doesn't work for me right now."
Mickelson, 42, was responding to a question about why, in a conference call last Monday, he referred to "what's gone on the last couple of months, politically," when talking about the semi-retirement of fellow tour pro Steve Stricker.
"I think we're all going to have to find things that work for us," Mickelson said on the call.
The options for Mickelson would seem to be to move to a state with lower taxes or go into some form of retirement.
Asked if there was a correlation between his views and his withdrawal from interest in the Padres, Mickelson said, "Yeah, absolutely."
Mickelson made it known on Dec. 18 that he had told the Padres he wouldn't be part of the ownership group after expressing enthusiasm throughout the summer for his possible inclusion. He said on that night, "I've been born and raised here, but at this moment I'm not able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team."
Mickelson, who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, is expected to address the media in a press conference on Wednesday at Torrey Pines, and he said on Sunday, "San Diego is where I live. It's where the Padres thing was a possibility, where my family is. It just seems to be a better fit than right here off the 18th (green) in Palm Springs."
In November, California voters approved Proposition 30, which imposed a 13.3 percent tax rate for incomes of more than $1 million — a percentage increase of 29.13 percent over the previous "millionaires" tax of 10.3 percent.
As of June, Forbes Magazine ranked Mickelson as the seventh-highest paid athlete in sports, with on-course earnings and endorsements totaling $47.8 million.
"If you add up all of the federal and you look at disability and unemployment and the social security and the state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent," Mickelson said Sunday. "So I've got to make some decisions about what I'm going to do."
The San Diego native has won 40 PGA Tour events and four major championships in a 21-year career.
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