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Phil: "Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public."

Whatever you think of Phil Mickelson and his comments, you have to give him credit for sensing the reaction and potential deflection of attention from tournament sponsors by issuing a statement late Monday night to the San Diego Union Tribune, apologizing to those he upset.

“I know I have my usual pre-tournament press conference scheduled this week but I feel I need to address the comments I made following the Humana Challenge now,” Mickelson said in the statement.

“I absolutely love what I do. I love and appreciate the game of golf and the people who surround it. I’m as motivated as I’ve ever been to work on my game, to compete and to win championships.

“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 not to let it happen again.”

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Reader Comments (45)

Another in a series of FIGJAM classics. Open mouth, insert softspike.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
We are the 96%!
And that Mitt Romney finally got 47% of the vote is proof that God exists and has a sense of humor.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Why not?
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Phil's not sorry for what he said, he's sorry that he didn't think how it'd play out there among the working stiffs.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAK47
Rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer, true that. I time that phenomenon to investment banks going public and Wall street co-opting economic policy in this country, starting with Robert Rubin during Clinton's era. Too smart to be effectively regulated, too big to fail, too greedy to give a damn who suffers. Everything went sideways, Wall Street has a bad year, we have a bad decade. Good deal...for them.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
@Charlie zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosh
Actually taxes are a very public matter, but talking about them in a personal context rarely works.
The magnitude of criticism being leveled at Phil simply disgusts me. It is sad that he has to apologize for the statement he made -- Phil was not insulting an ethnicity/sexual orientation/gender/etc., he simply made a valid comment about how overtaxed we are in California and the USA.

Phil gives away more in gratuities in one year than many folks' charitable contributions (myself included) in a decade. However, demonizing the successful is par for the course since 2008.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
The "collective" will no longer tolerate independent thought or opinions against the Liberal/Progressive policies. See the comments on this board. I am glad Phil said something , but financially for him he can not be seen as political.

Tiger's and many other PGA pros have made similar observations and have changed their lifestyles/tax situations accordingly and I have not seen them criticized by this board. Good for them. Phil probably loves California and would like to see a change in its tax climate. I live here... and frankly it is hopeless to try to be successful and accumulate wealth in CA in private business w/ W2 income. Best wishes Phil.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVRWC
Congratulations Josh, your reply is the avatar of Progressive rhetoric. You'll be tenured in no time!
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
David, please, it just is not appropriate to let the facts get in the way of a good least not since 2008 ;-)~
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I consider the apology part as what is wrong in all of this.

I imagine that he was under some pressure from sponsors -- probably KPMG, and probably not Callaway (at least not Callaway as it had been run by Ely) -- to backtrack and defuse a political grenade.

I am sorry for Phil and I am sorry that he apologized. Because the press exploded and promoted in headline form that Mickelson was considering leaving the country (?!?!) -- which was comprehensively untrue -- I'd like to have seen and heard MORE explanaton, not less. I suppose that the problem in all of that is that if you get into a fight about taxes and start rattling off your own numbers, people in the press will demand to see your returns, or some equivalent. Like they did with Warren Buffet and his risible claims about his marginal rate and his poor secretary's marginal rate.

Oh, wait; the lefty mainstream meda never did demand that, did they?
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
phil- once you lose your game like i did, you will be happy to know that you will fall to a much lower tax bracket.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D

You're surely correct about Phil's generosity, charitable and otherwise. That just makes it more puzzling why he'd open himself up to this sort of criticism by whining about taxes. My mentor always told me that the only people who have tax problems are those who don't pay their taxes. There's no upside for a celebrity/athlete/rich guy/public figure complaining about the government's take. Just my two cents.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
While NO ONE, myself included wants to pay more tax,

and while EVERYONE is pissed about government waste, pork and the terrible management of our tax dollar...

Phil had NO BUSINESS saying what he did, *when he did*, and was caught off guard by a question about Stricker and a reduced schedule and he talked when he should have balked.

He has EVERY RIGHT to say everything he did, but in another setting, and with more latitude offered him to extrapolate.

He offended many people who are living paycheck to paycheck, or are trying to get a kid thru College, and keep the heep running, too. Families have elderly parents to take care of, and on it goes, and the whinings of a multimillionaire at a golf tournament are just in the worst taste.

The sad thing is, now he won't speak, when really he should; he has something important to say, and he has the right to say it, and the time is right.

Proof that even the best of us screw up royally from time to time.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Hey, Ace, you haven't told me where I went wrong in the previous interminable thread when I answered you about the trajectory of the national debt/deficit when Bush43 ascended the throne.

Regarding that burst of Obama spending that has so many people exercised, here's what the "lefty mainstream media" in the form of those socialists at Bloomberg has to say about that (today): "Federal outlays over the past three years grew at their slowest pace since 1953-56, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president."

Here is a handy chart from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, another hotbed of the "collective":[1][id]=W019RCQ027SBEA
I know they must be just plain wrong. Someone help me. Chuck? VWRC? Ace? Del?
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG

How does the deficit curve look? Will it not load unless you are in a room with vaulted ceilings? My response to your reply? I'll owe you. Get it? Good times.

If you mistake me for someone who sees W and Obama as anything other than co-conspirators with respect to wanton spending, you are incorrect. The question debated in part in the previous thread was the net effect of tax policy on our intermediate and long term fiscal future. One can set tax rates anywhere one likes and it won't change the fact that unless alterations are made to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, the country will bankrupt itself.

However, as an admirer of H.L. Mencken, I support you fully in the continued enthusiastic assertion of your desires.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
only KLG can stare a trillion dollar annual deficit in the face and prattle on about how slow the deficit is growing.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

I stole a quick moment to dig a little deeper into a rebuttal. (you try double-billing clients, maintaining innuendo laced banter with administrative staff AND debating fiscal policy with a retiree). Certainly, you place a greater value on your credibility than is in evidence above.

Let's focus on the word "grew" in your post. "Federal outlays over the past three years GREW at their slowest pace since [...] Eisenhower". Gee, I wonder what they did in year four? Let's go to another curve for our answer:

WHAT?! They took off like Fat Albert at a Blue Angels performance (maybe DTF can elaborate on what this looks like). As Forbes has become so popular on this site of late, let me quote another of their contributors, Michael Strain:

"Assume that during the year 2009 your already-overweight friend gained forty extra pounds, and since then your friend has continued to overeat such that his body weight has remained roughly constant. Since he hasn’t gained much weight in the past four years, can I conclude that he doesn’t have a weight problem?"

As I do value my credibility, here's the link to the full article, as it nicely corroborates my earlier post above and conveniently neuters KLG's. Come on, man. I gather you were some type of academic in your career. You can do better than this.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
To Phil and his enablers
It would be a good idea to start your "comments" with excerpts from your gratitude journal. Maybe something like: I'm grateful that this long, bountiful career has afforded me an altogether beautiful life. I, unlike 99% of the population, was able to afford to seek and avail myself of the best, latest and most cutting edge therapy for my beautiful very young wife with breast cancer. We were able to fly to Europe in the comfort and privacy of a private jet. My mother was also diagnosed and received the best treatment with no worry of cost, battling insurance co's, etc. " If he wants to keep up the complaining, he could spin this and suggest if the economics of the U.S. and California weren't so terrible, that everyone could afford this "luxury" know, make it seem that he's thinking of the greater good!
I seem to remember that when many homes were burned in Rancho Santa Fe, the Mickelson's home was spared. That's cause for gratitude right there. I believe that they moved to another home in the same area very soon--lo, without having to sell their other home first. Must be nice!
He has an auto-immune disease and not only receives the drug free used to treat it, but is a paid spokesperson for Embrel--DTF--How much would that endorsement be?
As for the "insults and upsets" he's apologizing for--how about some love for Tim F. who has made it possible for him to "retire" with a very very hefty pension --again DTF--how much? and is it tax free?
I've seen the phony Phil at a tournament when he thinks no one is looking, blowing off people without even a smile, then going outside and handing a valet $100.
He seems to be very immature, arrogant and just doesn't get it. Wow, his wife's health is enough to make you get down on your knees every day, isn't it? that your children seem to be doing well...
Grow up, be quiet Phil. Be grateful. Without it, you're much poorer than you know.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvamor
HEY! You guys leave me out of it!!

I like all of you!!!

Evamor, under normal circumstances I'd be surprised if the Embrel deal was worth anything less than $2 million for Phil. (but since it's a direct health related issue who knows what kind of arrangement he may have agreed to, maybe a lot less)

It is funny how the worm has turned on Phil.....a while back I said I thought Phil was "an incredibly talented phony, and a blowhard." To be exact, said that on 3/2/11, my how time flies! Well, I got taken to the woodshed (not the first or last time that happened ;)...

...guess I could get away with calling him just about anything today!

I'm going with E.F. HUTTON.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Just asking - does this put the City of San Diego in a tough PR spot? Phil, as hometown hero redesigns North Course, while, rightly or wrongly, saying adios to California because his taxes are going up?
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterH Leonard
And KLG, since I'm on a roll, the good news is that we will ultimately find common ground once discretion is removed from the debate by obligatory debt service:
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
Good work, much appreciated. But my question was where was the national debt headed when Bush43 took office and the corollary, how did we get into this mess? We could "fix the deficit" tomorrow by raising marginal tax rates to pre-1980 levels and freezing movement of "capital." I'm OK with that in principle, but it might kill the patient so it's probably not a good idea. As for your graphs, you need to help me with them, because by my reading they seem to say that the deficit (way too large, I agree) is decreasing from its peak as percentage of GDP, while at the same time spending as a percentage of GDP is also decreasing. For example, at the 2009 point, the deficit is ~10% of GDP, while three points later (2012) the deficit is slightly more than 8% of GDP. That is good (~15% change in the right direction), isn't it, even if we still have a long way to go? You may begin with 2009 if you want, as does the author/Research Fellow at the AEI, but it is also fair to point out that the nearly unprecedented meltdown leading to the spike in the deficit accelerated rapidly through 2007 and 2008 and into 2009, during which the economy was "shedding" 500,000-700,000 jobs per month. And IIRC TARP was passed during the fall of 2008 and might have counted in the fiscal 2009 budget ending on 9/30/09 (yes indeed: passed on 10/3/08 "by" Bush43 but counting in his successor's nominal first budget, which is undoubtedly included in the 2009 point on the two graphs). The Obama stimulus, weighted significantly toward tax cuts (increasing the deficit) to gain passage, came in 2009. From 2010 forward the trends are positive in those two graphs. Just like in the St. Louis Fed graph. Right? Looks like to me we have stopped digging.

And the fat guy metaphor? Strained. And a lot like the comparison of the federal budget to a household budget, which must be "balanced every year." Except that it doesn't. All you people out there who always (and have always) pay cash for your houses, cars, and perhaps large appliances and upgraded HVAC systems, raise your hands. Probably more people in this group than society at large, but I'm willing to bet that very few hands went up. Which isn't to prattle on that I like federal deficits, but rescuing the economy, however poorly it may have been done, so that it survives is probably a good thing. Probably.

And no, I don't think you are that 7-letter word; why would you think that? We can discuss this over a beer one day.

Note added in proof: From wiki, "The Mercatus Center at George Mason University (GMU) in the United States is a non-profit American market-oriented research, education, and outreach think tank affiliated with the Koch family." What, no Pete Peterson? I'll stick with OMB, CBO, and the St. Louis Fed, thank you. And as far as I know, the Eugene V. Debs Institute still has only 1 "like" on Facebook, and it wasn't me.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
All in good fun, KLG.

But you are missing my central point, which is that causation and attribution in our present situation are redolent of the "ifs and buts" idiom. At this point, the mere cessation of digging is no more palliative than a maintenance diet is for our metaphorical fat guy. The deficit per se, is not our problem. Demographics and structurally obliged mandatory future spending are.

Regarding your postscript addressing the think tank, we're back to where we started in the other post; you may not like their agenda, such as it is, but that doesn't change the data in the pie charts.

But I will take you up on your beer summit proposal. Ideally, the venue will offer significantly more congenial weather than I am currently enduring. My heating bill is preparing to make Michael Mann's hockey stick look flatter than Phil's backside.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
H Leonard, do a little reading about the behind the scenes politics of Torrey Pines and the San Diego City Council and it will quickly become apparent that San Diego already has two black eyes, a broken nose, a couple missing teeth and is bleeding from the ears -- and all this was accomplished on their own.

Phil is in the clear...

utsandiego (dot) com/sports/golf/20060304-9999-1s4torrey.html

(that will get you started)
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Ace: We've had three days of winter here, so far. Last week my neighbor was running the AC. The begonias on my front porch look like it's September, still. Pink begonias and red poinsettias clash. I figure it may be March before they get killed by a frost. I feel your pain. Might be sort of planning a Southeastern Meeting of the Shack Society this spring. Come on down.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I have a friend who caddys at Sherwood CC...I asked him what was the biggest tip he ever got for 18 holes...he said. "that's easy...$700...from Rush Limbaugh"
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Finally some replies...

Thank you DTF. Facts are silly little things! From my time lurking here, DTF, I know you are no fan of Phil. However, your criticism of him is justified and not motivated by populist anger, etc. as many in the Twittersphere these last few days.

tlavin, Phil was correct in his apology that personal finances and taxes should be kept to one's self, but darn I wish you could've heard what John and Ken (popular L.A.-area talk show hosts) said. Someone has to speak up to effect change in tax policy.

At least Phil handed the valet a $100; that's more than I ever received as a valet! If I were him, my mouth would hurt from all the smiling he does. I consider myself a nice person (at the very least, not a prick, despite this post) and I couldn't be as generous to the fans as he is.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
Taylor: Phil also makes tens of millions of dollars after taxes, more in one year than all of the commentators here on this board will see in a lifetime. If he makes the same on and off course income this year as last, given the tax rates he says he will pay (and Phil needs to fire his accountant if he really does wind up paying that much), he will clear $18 million this year.
No one working for a living and struggling paycheck to paycheck wants to hear someone gripe that he's only going to clear $18 mill. Phil is told to get some perspective because he's sorely lacking it.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGarry Smits
Hey "2r's" Garry, how about you run us through the math on how you arrived at the $18 million number.....please be specific.

You have done the math, right?
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
It's a good thing. At least, he did say sorry, whatever his reasons may be. Apologizing is the right step to take.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPippa Usain
Pity some of that tax money doesn't get spent on education. "Rich's"? II'll attribute the rest of the spelling errors to sticky keys, but "rich's" is clearly a construction -- or misconstruction. When did people lose the ability to form a simple plural? )

Guess grammar teaching has been replaced by the telling of fairy tales, if the above is anything to go by. Although it has all the hallmarks of a rightwing, wingnut rant -- has the same lack of both logic and factual presentation that the sainted Rush used in his heartfelt defence of Phil the other day -- the selective use of sensational elements, the ignoring of the actual nuts and bolts of a case.

As for "worthless" -- this from someone who souinds as if he admires Sarah Palin? Back to the drawing board, sonny.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlato
A new dance partner, alright! Plato wants to play. Keep that left up, Sport.

"get spent"? Also, it is unclear to me where in your first paragraph your parenthetical begins.

"Guess grammar teaching has been replaced by..." what? Awkward and clumsy sentence construction?

I will allow "defence" on the presumption that you are of the Commonwealth or else the irony would be debilitating.

"...the ignoring of the actual nuts and bolts..." Supra

"souinds"? Back to the proofreading kiosk.

Fun, right?
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
I see you added RL- I am not sure why, but Ibene have no desire to listen to him create ''facts'' to support a position that benefits so few, and the lemmings just eat it up.

It goes back to the first ''fact' of Limbo--- his ''20 million'' listeners--- if you become aware of how radio creates listener numbers, you start to understand that this is a mythical number that remains unchallenged in the mainstream, but is in reality a piece of work, and not a real statistic, when compared to TV and other media.

And so from there, it goes that Rush never bothers with facts, when it is easy to just make it up.

You do have to admire his ability to tolerate pain medication, and I have always thought he was funny and entertaining, just a bold faced liar.

Become aware of how radio arrives at listener numbers- the myth of ''20 million'' becomes as real as ''high abouve the EIB Building'' Amazing how many people believe such a building actually exists...! funny stuff.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@digsouth funny how libs debate the number of actual rush listeners but can never find the facts on the debt and deficit increases or the facts on how obamacare will tax middle class or the facts to the real unemployment rate or the facts to the number of shootings in the gun free chicago. facts matter to libs only when they fit their agenda.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrown
"...boy, taxes are just killing me..."

"...damn, can you believe it's tax time again, WTF..."

"...I cannot believe they are raising taxes around here, AGAIN..."

"...this tax system is brutal and just does not work for me..."

At what income level does a person lose the right to publicly enunciate such phrases? Are the "rich" not allowed to say such things? What defines rich? Are we going with Colin's First Class air travel definition?

I don't know it for a fact but from what I read apparently a large slice of the population pays no taxes whatsoever, are they the ones who determine who retains the right to use such phrases listed above? Does "2r's" Garry get to make the rules because he has an official newspaper column?

Is it only people who make between $29,500 and $56,800? Where are the lines drawn and who draws them?

I'm just trying to figure out the rules here...

Hey "2r's", still waiting on you to post that math. I mean you already have it punched into a spreadsheet there don't you?

Aside from that, "2r's", is Phil once and always a "cheater" for having used the belly putter? Or has he hopped back over to the "non-cheater" side of your official ledger since he went back to a conventional putter? Maybe you could write a column about Phil and call him out for his "cheating" on the course, and his "sorely lacking perspective" off of it?

You know, make an example of Phil, with your barrels of ink...
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

I am now thinking you are joking and being ironic, but if not.....

Let me break out my tiny violin regarding your "right" to freedom of speech victimization. So, you are saying then that nobody else should have the right to respond when a rich person says something stupid in public? What about the rights of those responding? The fact is the polls say most in the US think the rich should pay a little more and if you are going to whine about it in public you can expect to hear about it.

Maybe you should spend a little time in a place where the right to speak is truly in question, where just saying something can get you thrown in the slammer. While you are at it go spend some time in a no-tax paradise like Somalia.

Like I said I hope you were being ironic or something.

Having said that, as a long time fan of Phil's I am struggling with this whole thing. His use of the word "drastic" is what really did it for me. Drastic is not having to move back to your other mansion in Arizona to save a few buckets in your lake of money. Drastic is having to default on your mortgage because you have cancer treatments and could not get insurance because of a pre-existing condition(though thankfully that is going away).

As someone who has clients in the PR industry I can only imagine what Phil's PR folks are going through this week.

And if for some reason he does end up leaving CA, I say don't let the door hit you....
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
WOW the jealousy of the rich is unending. and to all in CA saying don't let the door hit do realize every time someone like phil leaves the state has less funds to pay for your lifes problems.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrown

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