Phil Mickelson apologized for saying he would have to make “drastic changes” due to new U.S. and California tax laws. The 42-year-old golf champion said the comments should have remained private.
“Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public,” Mickelson, a winner of four major golf titles, said in a statement released today by his management company. “I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend to not let it happen again.”
Following his final round of the U.S. PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California, two days ago, Mickelson was asked to elaborate on his comments during a Jan. 14 conference call about the reduced schedule of another veteran U.S. golfer, 45-year-old Steve Stricker.
“I’m not going to jump the gun, but there’s going to be some drastic changes for me, because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted federally and by the state,” Mickelson told reporters. “It doesn’t work for me right now, so I’m going to have to make some changes.”
Stricker has said he will play a limited schedule this season. When asked if he would consider a similar plan, Mickelson said he wasn’t sure.
“I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do yet,” he said after tying for 37th at Humana. “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 is at 62 to 63 percent. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do.”
The comments, made the day before Democrat Barack Obama was publicly sworn in for his second term as U.S. president, drew a mixed reaction from golf fans. Many of the more than 1,200 comments received on a GolfChannel.com article about his remarks were critical of his plan, while others said it would be “hard to blame” him if he wanted to move out of California.
California’s Proposition 30, a recently passed sales- and income-tax law, raised state taxes on income over $1 million annually to 13.3 percent from 10.3 percent, a 29.1 percent increase. The top rate under new federal laws is 39.6 percent on taxable income above $450,000 for married couples, up from 35 percent in 2012. There also are higher rates on capital gains and dividends.