At the New York Times, "Uneasy in the Political Climate, Mickelson Talks Like Someone Ready to Step Away":
LA QUINTA, Calif. — After a middle-of-the-pack finish in his 2013 debut, Phil Mickelson stood off the 18th green at the Palmer Private course at PGA West on Sunday and talked about having to make, in his own words, “drastic changes.”I haven't heard anyone quoting that high an effective tax rate, of 62 or 63 percent, but Mickelson's figures are in the ballpark from previous estimates. Recall the Tax Prof, "Top Marginal Tax Rate Will Exceed 50% in California, New York, and Hawaii in 2013."
He was not referring to his equipment. Mickelson, already one of the highest-earning athletes on the planet, is not considering switching the clubs in his bag or the clothes on his back, the way the world No. 1, Rory McIlroy, did last week after signing a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike.
On the day President Obama was sworn in for his second term, Mickelson sent shock waves through the Humana Challenge when he said the political landscape in the United States was causing him to seriously contemplate his future in golf. Mickelson, who will turn 43 in June, has 40 PGA Tour victories, including four majors, and was inducted last year into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“I’m not going to jump the gun and do it right away,” he said after carding a six-under-par 66 to finish in a 10-way tie for 37th, “but 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.”
As Mickelson spoke, the tournament was winding down to a scintillating conclusion. Brian Gay, who began the final round six strokes off the lead, closed with a nine-under 63 to end regulation tied with David Lingmerth (62) and Charles Howell III (64). He won with a 5-foot birdie on the second hole of the sudden-death playoff.
Scott Stallings, the 54-hole leader, made his first bogey of the tournament on his seventh hole and finished with a 70 to tie for fourth with James Hahn, who capped his 62 with an eagle-3 at the 18th.
Finishing eight strokes out of the playoff was Mickelson, who played the final three rounds in 17 under par but could not climb out of the hole he dug for himself with a par 72 start at La Quinta Country Club.
“I played better as the week wore on,” Mickelson said. He added: “I feel like I’m starting to play some pretty good golf. So hopefully I’ll be able to make a run on the weekend next week, because that’s what’s exciting is having a chance to win.”
Mickelson, the reigning champion at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, has more than $67 million in career earnings since turning professional in 1992. Last year, he was ranked by Forbes magazine as the seventh highest-paid athlete, with $47.8 million in earnings, including $43 million in endorsements.
“If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve got to make some decisions on what to do.”
Mickelson, who lives with his wife, Amy, and their three children outside San Diego, his hometown, said he planned to elaborate on his comments in more detail this week when the tour stopped in his backyard, at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.