Phil Mickelson apologizes for criticizing federal tax hikes

Jessica Stanton Contributor
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Professional golfer Phil Mickelson is offering a personal apology for voicing his frustrations with new federal and state tax hikes, but isn’t ruling out the possibility of leaving California.

“I love this state, and I am certainly concerned for it,” Mickelson told reporters at Torrey Pines Golf Course near San Diego at a press conference on Wednesday. “My apology is for talking about it publicly, because I shouldn’t take advantage of the forum that I have as a professional golfer to try to ignite change over these issues.”

The four-time major championship winner jokingly compared his off-kilter comments at a Sunday press conference following the Humana Challenge golf tournament to his performance at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, when he hit a drive so far to the left that he scored a double bogey, ultimately losing his chance for a major title.

“I hit one way left off the tents. So this happened to be way right, but way off the tents,” Mickelson explained, adding, “I think I’m going to learn my lesson and take a wedge and get it back in play.”

The golf star told reporters he has never had a problem paying his taxes. San Diego Union Tribune sports columnist Nick Canepa asked, “But do you now?”

“I’ve never had a problem paying my fair share,” Mickelson responded. “I don’t know what that is right now, but I don’t have a problem paying my fair share.”

The 42-year-old vowed to handle his decision-making process privately and reiterated that he has not yet decided if he will move. On Monday, golf legend Tiger Woods revealed he left California in 1996 to avoid the state’s massive tax burdens. (RELATED VIDEO: Tiger Woods: I left California over tax rates too)

“I love this country and I love the opportunities that it’s afforded me to be successful and do what I love,” Mickelson concluded.

Earlier in the press conference, in response to a Fox News reporter, PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem defended Mickelson’s comments.

“Generally people making decisions based on tax rates in California, on top of federal rates, is not a unique thing,” Finchem retorted. “There are businesses relocating out of California because they can operate better in states that have lower tax rates.”

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