Phil Mickelson apologises for tax complaint

DOUG FERGUSON
Last updated 13:35 24/01/2013

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Multimillionaire golfer Phil Mickelson apologised for complaining about his taxes, saying it was insensitive to those who are struggling to find a job.

Mickelson caused a sensation this week by saying new federal and state tax rates kept him from being part of the San Diego Padres' new ownership group and might cause him to move away from his native California because of "drastic changes" brought on by the political climate.

"I think that it was insensitive to talk about it publicly to those people who are not able to find a job, that are struggling paycheck to paycheck," Mickelson said at Torrey Pines. "I think that was insensitive to discuss it in that forum."

He didn't apologise for what he said - only that he said it.

He said it was a "dumb, dumb mistake" to go public with his views.

Golf Digest magazine listed Mickelson's earnings on and off the golf course last year at US$47 million, and millionaires complaining about their taxes is sure to be a polarising topic.

Mickelson discovered that quickly, issuing a statement on Monday (local time) that he should have kept his opinion to himself.

After his final round of the Humana Challenge, he said the federal tax rate combined with California passing the first tax increase since 2004 would force him to make big changes.

"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 62, 63 per cent," Mickelson said on Sunday.

"So I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do."

Mickelson dodged several questions about whether he would leave San Diego or his thoughts on taxes, only ceding to the temptation one time when he said he has never had a problem paying his fair share of taxes.

"I don't know what that is right now," he said, "but I've never had a problem paying my fair share."

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- AP

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