By Brigitte L. Nacos
Phil Mickelson used to be one of my favorite golf professionals. I like his style of play. I rooted for him.
Yesterday, he lost me as a fan.
Not because of his less than stellar performance in his first golf tournament of the year but because of what he said during a post-tournament interview at the Humana Challenge at Palm Springs.
Mickelson, one of the country’s best known, most popular and richest golfers, complained about today’s “political landscape in the United States” and let it be known that he is contemplating retirement because of his higher tax rates this year.
According to the New York Times, Mickelson whined, “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. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what to do.”
Later this week, Mickelson promised reporters, he will talk in more detail about his high tax burden at the tournament at Torrey Pines. Perhaps he plans to bring a tax expert to explain how he arrives at the alleged “62, 63 percent rates.
Forget about moaning some more, Mickelson. Put your golf clubs up for sale. Join forces with the GOP’s Tea Party wing that fights tooth and nail against modest tax increases for the wealthiest and rather sticks low and middle income groups as well as programs for the poorest among us.
Yes, according to the recent “fiscal cliff” agreements, Mickelson’s top tax rate will go up from 35% to 39.6%, and long-term capital gains and certain dividends from 15% to 20%. He will also pay somewhat more in self-employment payroll tax and a newly introduced California’s millionaire tax.
According to Forbes, this guy made about $44 million last year in tournament earnings and endorsements; he has a net worth of $180 million.
Last week, after a long off-season, Mickelson played not his best golf, was tied for 37th place and still collected $22,400 for four days of hitting the golf ball.
Does this “over-taxed” golf star have any idea about the incomes of most Americans who work hard every day and have far less leisure time than he?
Does he have any idea how long most people work to earn what he made in price money on Sunday for a four-day work week?
I love playing golf. I love watching golf. But I will no longer root for Phil Mickelson.