Tax Dodge



As we predicted here, Phil Mickelson has backed off of his complaints about high taxes in California and the United States and the "drastic changes" he needs to make. Mickelson released this sterile statement:


“Right now, I’m like many Americans who are trying to understand the new tax laws. I’ve been learning a lot over the last few months and talking with people who are trying to help me make intelligent and informed decisions. I certainly don’t have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family.


Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public. I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend to not let it happen again.”


There will probably be a lot of "I'm only going to talk about golf" later this week at the pressers. In addition to Phil preferring positive PR, let's look at the obvious: his sponsors could not have been that thrilled.

In addition, Tim Finchem and the sponsors for this week including the lead sponsor Farmer's Insurance surely did not want this to be the topic of conversation at Torrey Pines with Tiger coming to town (and it looks like Tiger is on Phil's side on this anyway).

As noted before, it is a tough topic to tackle for someone who made an estimate $45,335,267 in 2012 according to Golf DigestAlthough ... there is a left-handed golfer with some influence on the topic, so maybe Mickelson could be heard. Ok - unlikely and as Rory McIlroy found out, the President is not an easy topic to wander into no matter how innocuous it seems.


Mickelson will need to create a distraction at this week's press conferences. Probably the best way to distract everyone this week is by changing the topic to his Super Bowl bets -- for which he has a good history. Back in 2000, Phil was part of a syndicate that bet $20,000 at 22-1 for the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl. The reported payout that year on that ticket after the Ravens crushed the Giants: $560,000.


He could always consider setting up camp in Nevada - it has no state income tax.


While we are all for athletes speaking more and throwing caution to the wind, tax policy may be the exception [full disclosure: I was a practicing tax lawyer for many years]. Overall, let's just be thankful (or hopeful) we don't have to sit through a painful press conference with Mickelson explaining his views on taxes. Even worse would be the cautious golf media then trying to report on Mickelson's comments without getting themselves into hot water.


Can we just change the subject to a topic we can enjoy: race relations!




Douglas Han