POOR PHIL–Phil Mickelson answers a question about comments he made about taxes during a news conference following his round in the Pro-Am at the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines on Jan. 23, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
by Tim Dahlberg
AP Sports Columnist
It’s not always easy being rich, as Phil Mickelson reminded us the other day. There are taxes to pay — apparently lots of them — and the price of a tank of jet fuel seems to go up every day.
A million dollars a week just doesn’t go as far as it used to, now that the wealthy are paying more in taxes. For Mickelson, things have gotten so bad that he’s thinking of moving from California so the state doesn’t get a cut of the $47 million that Golf Digest estimates he made last year.
Thankfully, it’s not quite to the point where Tiger Woods and his buddies need to hold a car wash to raise money for Lefty. He has, after all, made an estimated $400 million in the last decade and even the greediest of tax collectors doesn’t take it all.
And he does seem to realize — though a bit belatedly — that one thing rich people shouldn’t do is complain to people who aren’t rich about the taxes they have to pay. Mickelson was barely done moaning about the taxman the other day when he began a round of apologies that continued Wednesday at his hometown tournament in San Diego.
“I’ve made some dumb, dumb, mistakes, and, obviously, talking about this stuff was one of them,” Mickelson said.
Not to worry. There are ways to stay put at home and still have enough left over for a few of the Five Guys hamburger franchises he loves so much.
Among them are:
WIN LESS: What good is winning when you have to pay so much of your earnings to the government? Sure, it goes against Mickelson’s competitive instincts, but there’s a good living to be made in the middle of the pack on the PGA Tour, where almost everyone is a millionaire. This week’s winning payout at Torrey Pines is $1,080,000, but why deal with the anguish of giving so much of it away? Luckily Mickelson has already taken an important step in that direction by winning only two times since capturing the Masters three years ago.
THINK SILVER: Back in the days when the Tournament of Champions was held in Las Vegas and people still had silver dollars, the winner was paid every year with a wheelbarrow full of the coins. It might take a dump truck to hold enough silver dollars for today’s huge purses, but imagine the fun Mickelson could have when the IRS comes by to take its share.