Phil Mickelson Promises Drastic Changes Due to High Taxes | Retirement?

LA QUINTA, CA – JANUARY 20: Phil Mickelson hits out of a bunker on the 12th hole during the final round of the Humana Challenge In Partnership With The Clinton Foundation on the Palmer Private Course at PGA West on January 20, 2013 in La Quinta, California. Credit: Getty Images

LA QUINTA, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — Phil Mickelson said he will make “drastic changes” because of federal and California state tax increases.

“It’s been an interesting offseason,” Mickelson said Sunday after the final round of the Humana Challenge. “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 golfer said he would talk in more detail about his plans – possibly moving away from California or even retiring from golf – before his hometown Farmers Insurance Open, the San Diego-area event that starts Thursday at Torrey Pines.

“I’m not sure what exactly, you know, I’m going to do yet,” Mickelson said. “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, you know, it doesn’t work for me right now. So I’m going to have to make some changes.”

In November, California voters approved Proposition 30, the first statewide tax increase since 2004. Mickelson lives in Rancho Santa Fe.

“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,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do.”

Last year, Mickelson flirted with becoming a part owner of the San Diego Padres, the baseball team that sold for $800 million in August. He was asked Sunday if there was a correlation between the tax increases and what happened to the Padres’ deal.

“Absolutely,” Mickelson said.

He later explained why he was waiting to provide more details.

“I’ll probably be in the media center and I’ll probably be a little more open to it because San Diego is where a lot more things, it’s where I live, it’s where the Padre thing was a possibility, and it’s where my family is,” Mickelson said. “And it just seems like a better fit than right here off of 18 on Palm Springs.”

Mickelson closed with a 66 on Sunday to tie for 37th at 17 under in his season debut.

“I was rusty starting the year,” Mickelson said. “I had a great four days here where I can work on my game with perfect weather and wonderful golf courses, where I could build some momentum. Heading into San Diego, I feel a lot more confident.”

The tournament was his first since the HSBC Champions in early November in China. The Hall of Famer has 40 PGA Tour victories.

USA Today has the full press conference exchange below:

Q. When you’re asked about Stricker’s semi retirement, with the political situation the last couple months, blah, blah, blah, what did you mean by that? Do you find it an unsettling time in a way?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it’s been an interesting offseason. 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.

Q. Meaning leaving from California?

PHIL MICKELSON: I’m not sure.

Q. Moving to Canada?

PHIL MICKELSON: I’m not sure what exactly, you know, I’m going to do yet. 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, you know, it doesn’t work for me right now. So I’m going to have to make some changes.

Q. Is that a correlation between that and what happened to the Padres?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah.

Q. With you?

PHIL MICKELSON: Absolutely.

Q. So why do you say next week? What is going to happen so drastic next week?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, but I’ll probably be in the media center and I’ll probably be a little more open to it because San Diego is where a lot more things, it’s where I live, it’s where the Padre thing was a possibility, and it’s where my family is. And it just seems like a better fit than right here off of 18 on Palm Springs.

Q. Is it a stance that you are taking because on the one hand, you’ve made a lot of money, and no matter how much they take out, you are left with a lot of money?

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah. I’ll probably go into it more next year or next week. But if you add up, 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. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do.

Q. How do you balance that against the TOUR’s retirement plan which by all standards is the best retirement plan in sports?

PHIL MICKELSON: I don’t understand. What do you mean?

Q. Well, I mean I understand the 60 percent part of the equation, but in the TOUR’s plan, you guys put about as much money aside as you want. It’s treated differently under tax laws than most anybody else’s tax plans. Where most people can only put away $45,000 or $50,000, you guys can put as much away as you want. And so at the end you guys end up with a much larger pot of gold than most people can.

PHIL MICKELSON: But when it comes out, it’s still taxed at the same 62 percent rate.

Q. Well, you’re still making that kind of money. That’s if you’re still in that bracket.

PHIL MICKELSON: (No response.)

While it’s unclear what drastic changes he’ll make, plenty in the golf world have suggested retirement is on the table.

Forbes writes: “To be honest, it’s hard to blame Mickelson – who has compiled a net worth approaching $180 million by repeatedly striking a tiny white ball until it falls into a hole — for putting all options on the table, which according to some, include the possibility of prematurely shutting down his career to avoid his rising tax burden.”

The link goes to a Twitchy story that quotes a tweet from golf blogger Scott Michaux:

Phil Mickelson Promises Drastic Changes Due to High Taxes | Retirement?

That tweet, however, appears to have been replaced by this one: