Mickelson takes mulligan on tax comments

Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:41pm EST
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(Reuters) - Four-times major champion Phil Mickelson has taken a mulligan, in golfing parlance, and apologized for publicly venting his feelings about soaring tax rates for millionaires in his native California.

The 42-year-old told reporters after last week's Humana Challenge he was considering making "drastic changes" because of spiking federal and state tax rates but on Tuesday he said he should have kept his thoughts to himself.

"Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public," Mickelson said in a statement released by his management company.

"I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend to not let it happen again."

Mickelson, a 40-times winner on the PGA Tour, has piled up career earnings of more than $67 million and considerably more via corporate endorsements and his golf course design company.

According to Forbes magazine, the American left-hander earned $43 million in endorsements in 2012, second only to Tiger Woods among golfers and seventh among all athletes.

"Well, it's been an interesting off-season, and I'm going to have to make some drastic changes," Mickelson told reporters after tying for 37th place at 17 under at the Humana Challenge on Sunday in his first tournament of the season.

"I'm not going to jump the gun and do it right away, but I will be making some drastic changes. 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."

California voters in November approved Proposition 30, which raised state income tax to 13.3 percent on earnings of $1 million or more, a 29.13 percent increase over the previous "millionaires" tax of 10.3 percent.   Continued...

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. takes a break in play on the 15th tee during the second round of the 2011 U.S. Open golf tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, June 17, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque