#ReactionJanuary 23, 2013

Phil Mickelson's tax comments generate passionate fan response

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By Stephen Hennessey

Phil Mickelson made his 2013 debut last week at the Humana Challenge, but his post-round comments to the press are getting a lot more attention than his ho-hum T-37 finish.

Lefty, not one to refrain from speaking out on a subject, said he "will be making some drastic changes" to account for the new tax rates he's paying in California. He then released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for discussing the matter.

Whenever an athlete comments on a political issue, it'll usually cause a stir. It did in this case, too, generating more than 380 comments on our Golf Digest Facebook page.

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Prevailing opinion from our fans: Phil's comments felt like a breath of fresh air. Most didn't see a reason for Mickelson to apologize, although plenty of others didn't like Lefty's comments.

Here's a glimpse at some of our fans' opinions:

  • Dick Willis: Classy response from a class act. I see nothing wrong with what he said. Phil and Amy are givers in so many ways. Golf is fortunate to have gentlemen like Phil Mickelson. *

  • Robbie Darnell: Hey Phil I'm happy for you. Be proud that you are able to make money doing what you love. You inspire me to try and make money doing something I love. Go Phil! *

Our passionate readers didn't shy away from taking a stance on a conterversial issue in this country. A ton of people were disappointed Phil apologized.

  • Clint Freddie James: He should not be apologizing for being responsible and drawing awareness. Hopefully some other athletes will pay attention. We all too often hear of athletes that have made millions and end up broke in a matter of years. Here is a guy that is merely explaining that he is doing what he can to ensure he can enjoy his future, and for some reason is being led to apologize for that statement. *

  • Jason Sparks: I hope Phil holds true to his character and doesn't back off the truth. Enough with the politically correct junk. What's wrong with the truth? Anyone who disagrees with Phil most likely isn't paying 62 percent in taxes. *

  • Lee Moore Nast: No offense taken. Much like a lot of others who don't mind paying their "fair share," I take offense in having to pay others share. So Mr. Mickelson, the ones you may have offended might fall into the latter group who hope you continue with that 63 percent! With that being said, you are quite the gentleman to offer an apology when one was not needed or expected. *

  • Jim Doyle: No problem. I think more people should make opinions public. You are to be applauded for your honesty. *

  • David Finlay: Whimp. Don't let your handlers stop you from speaking your mind. Especially when you are right on target. Takers aren't golf fans anyway. Givers are though. *

  • Jack Hamilton: He has every right to be outraged. This is insanity and non-sustainable. "It is estimated that Mickelson earned $47 million in 2012, according to Forbes.com. His 62-percent tax rate still leaves $18 million to pay for groceries and put into his IRA." He made $47 million and had to give $29 million to the government. Are you kidding me? That's outrageous. I'd leave California in a New York heartbeat if I was him. *

  • Wilson De Lancy: C'mon Philly Phil. Stand by your statements, bro. You're entitled to your beliefs and opinions. Haters will hate regardless. #askTiger *

There are always two sides to every political issue. Some were not happy with Phil's honesty in his original comments.

  • Jeff Krause: Phil, your skill and personality have influenced millions to try to be like you, buy and use your endorsed products, and to spend their hard earned money emulating you . . . Phil, stand behind your statement, otherwise keep your mouth shut. You are making a fortune playing a GAME, you should try to keep that in perspective. *

  • Nick Blish: I don't really care about Phil's money problems, or lack there of. I spend the majority of my HARD earned money playing golf. He gets paid millions to play golf, SHUT UP AND QUIT CRYING!! This is the reason many people don't get into golf. The perception of over privileged cry babies making tons of money!!! *

  • Jeff Schwitzer: What are you people talking about, hard earned money? He gets more money for wearing clothes and playing with rich guys than he does golfing, and we are paying for that by overpaying for clubs and apparel. Boo hoo Phil. Tell your troubles to someone who has to choose between food or gas. *

  • Meg McGraw: I would prefer if Phil would stick to commenting on golf and his amazing short game vs. the economy. *

  • Tim Brummett: Phil should be glad he's playing now and not in Snead's, Hogan's, or even Palmer's era when they didn't make eleventy bajillion dollars in endorsements for smacking a little ball around, and the top marginal tax bracket was closer to 90 percent! He does donate a fair amount to charity like most the big stars, so I can't fault the guy too much. I bet he ends up in Florida with the rest of the PGA so he at least avoids state income tax. We all should be so lucky to have his first world money problems...#notsheddingatearforlefty. *

  • Geoff Kirk: Right, if Phil wants to complain while folks in his tax bracket are paying the least amount of taxes in U.S. history while reaping 90 percent of the increase in income over the last 40 years, then good for him. And if the rest of us get to see our income fall year after year while we work harder and longer than any other rich country then that's just our fault for not contributing to society by playing golf or engaging in selling fraudulent stocks and securities. *

And this comment won our favorite of all:

  • Mickey Morgan: He sure put a lot of back spin on that statement. He must have got a call from President Mulligan. *

Maybe this is the first stage in Mickelson's effort to campaign for a career in politics. Hey, the guy does always take time to shake hands and sign autographs!

Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

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