Phil Mickelson regrets airing opinion on taxes
Mickelson's news conference Wednesday will come after his pro-am round in the Farmers Insurance Open, a tournament he first won 20 years ago.
"He definitely showed a lack of sympathy for the plight of a lot of people, unemployed and all that sort of stuff," Geoff Ogilvy said. "But everything is relative. He's verbalized when he's thinking, and you shouldn't get in trouble for verbalizing what you're thinking."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry even weighed in with this tweet: "Hey Phil....Texas is home to liberty and low taxes...we would love to have you as well!!"
Mickelson is among the most famous athletes to come out of San Diego. He went to school at Arizona State and lived in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the first decade of his career until moving back home to Rancho Santa Fe.
He was part of the group that bought the Padres, saying that it would be a "significant investment" for him but that he saw it as a great opportunity to get involved in his hometown. Asked if the tax changes were why he withdrew, Mickelson said, "Absolutely."
Mickelson has earned just under $70 million in PGA Tour earnings for his career, which doesn't include corporate endorsements (Callaway, Barclays, Rolex) or his golf course design company, which is thriving in China.
In November, California voters approved Proposition 30, the first statewide tax increase since 2004. It raises the rate on earnings over $250,000 for seven years.
"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 had said. "So I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do."
The reaction to Mickelson's comments from the California legislature split along party lines, with Republicans saying they expect more high-earners to follow and Democrats saying multimillionaires can afford to pay more.
"You know, it's sad," said Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare. "And I think it'll be the first of many."
Democrats said there is no evidence in the U.S. or California of mass departures in the wake of higher taxes on the wealthy. State Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, called Mickelson "the exception rather than the rule."
This is not the first time Mickelson's opinions have brought him attention. Ten years ago, he came to Torrey Pines and apologized for Woods for saying in magazine article that the world's No. 1 player was using inferior equipment.
These comments on paying taxes were sure to resonate with far more people.
Ogilvy recently moved from San Diego County to Scottsdale, though his reason was more about golf than taxes. He bought a home in Del Mar and lived with his wife and three kids for about four years, knowing there were other states he could live with lower tax rates.
"It's a little bit of one negative to a lot of positives," Ogilvy said. "If the tax rate in California was the same as it was in Texas, half the tour would live here. The lifestyle is impressive. The climate is impressive. But even the ones who grow up here move away."
Juliet Williams and Don Thompson in Sacramento contributed to this story.