"Mickelson expects to make 'drastic' changes because of political, economic climate"

That's the headline in his hometown paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune. Which means Phil Mickelson's Wednesday press conference at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open should be quite the lively affair following his post round comments at Sunday's Humana Challenge.

Tod Leonard explains the circumstances and primary issue Mickelson intends to elaborate on Wednesday in his hometown.

Mickelson, 42, was responding to a question about why, in a conference call last Monday, he referred to “what’s gone on the last couple of months, politically,” when talking about the semi-retirement of fellow tour pro Steve Stricker.

“I think we’re all going to have to find things that work for us,” Mickelson said on the call. "I think we're all going to have our own kind of way of handling things, handling time in our career, handling what's gone on the last couple of months politically. I think we're all going to have to find things that work for us."

Asked if there was a correlation between his views and his withdrawal from interest in the Padres, Mickelson said, “Yeah, absolutely.”

I guess that rules out Phil watching the inauguration Monday or sending Governor Moonbeam some Callaways!

Alex Miceli fills us in on Mickelson's primary gripe.

Last fall, Californians approved Proposition 30, which boosts the state income tax to 13.3 percent on earnings of $1 million or more. That’s a 29.1 percent increase from the previous “millionaires tax” in a state with tremendous fiscal issues.

Compound that increased liability with the recent changes to the federal tax code, which bumps the top bracket to 39.6 percent from 35 percent to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff, and Mickelson’s tax hit is substantial.

And this...

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

The official transcript.

So here's the good news as I see it: this will take some of the focus off of Tuesday night's players meeting where the PGA Tour will be discussing a decidedly first world problem in the form of anchoring belly putters.

The bad news? Depending on how Mickelson presents his case (he's quite good and comes off as sincere when he's passionate about something), he could either (A) shed light on legitimate issues surrounding the tax code or (B) brand PGA Tour upper echelon golfers as suffering the firstest of first world problems and merely reinforce negative stereotypes about the sport and those who play it. 

Should be an interesting day at Torrey Pines!