Mickelson says he will make 'drastic changes'

By Jason SobelJanuary 21, 2013, 3:32 pm

Phil Mickelson has spent an entire career as the people's champion. He's followed major championship heartbreak by signing autographs until the last fan left happy. He's hugged all the grandmothers and kissed all the babies. He has a connection to those outside the gallery ropes like no professional golfer since Arnold Palmer.

You could say his last two decades have been a study in how to win friends and influence people.

All of which makes his most recent proclamation so quizzical.

Following his final round at the Humana Challenge on Sunday, Mickelson said he will need to make “drastic changes” going forward. Now, it’s still unclear what these drastic changes could entail – they could be anything from limiting his playing schedule to simply moving to another state – but the cause of them is clear.


More on Mickelson and Proposition 30


It’s all in reaction to Proposition 30, passed by the state of California last November, which significantly impacts those who have a taxable annual income of more than $1 million.

“I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn't work for me right now,” Mickelson said after finishing in a share of 37th place. “So I'm going to have to make some changes.”

Again, there’s no telling yet what these changes might be, though Mickelson alluded to the fact that he would allow more insight prior to this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Maybe it’s reading too much into his comments, but if this decision includes playing less golf, it would go against so much of what Mickelson has tried to stand for during his career.

This is a man who despite ranking second in PGA Tour career earnings has always found a connection with Joe Fan – and with whom Joe Fan has always felt a connection. Limiting his playing schedule due to injury or wanting to spend more time with family – as Steve Stricker will do this year – wouldn’t repel those fans.

Doing so based on new tax codes doesn’t exactly follow suit.

“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's 62, 63 percent,” he explained. “So I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do.”

Obviously, that 62-63 percent tax rate is monumental and one that can seriously affect Mickelson’s personal life. According to Forbes magazine, he made a combined $47.8 million last year in both on- and off-course earnings. Do the math and that’s a significant chunk of change that he stands to give up due to Prop 30.

That said, good luck to him getting empathy from a fan base that largely can’t process figures that large. One of the cardinal rules for those who get paid big bucks to play a game for a living is that you can’t complain about any complications that derive from getting paid big bucks to play a game for a living.

If Mickelson is guilty of anything so far, it’s using his inside voice while the microphones were on. This topic has apparently been weighing on his mind for a while, but when it was broached Sunday he spoke about it only coyly, deflecting his decision for later this week at Torrey Pines.

“I'm not sure what exactly, you know, I'm going to do yet,” he said. “I'll probably talk about it more in depth next week. I'm not going to jump the gun, but there are going to be some. There are going to be some drastic changes for me.”

What does that mean, exactly? We’ll likely find out more in coming days. If it’s simply a matter of Mickelson moving his family from California to avoid the tax code but doesn’t affect his professional schedule, well, the impact won’t be felt much beyond his own household. If it means, though, that he will only compete in a limited number of tournaments or won’t play certain events in California, it will have a much bigger effect on how he’s viewed publicly.

Most professional golfers may not worry about public response to such a personal matter, but Mickelson isn’t most professional golfers. He has gone out of his way over the years to ensure that he is the most beloved golfer of his generation, ingratiating himself to the fans more so than any of his peers.

There’s no doubt Prop 30 will have an effect on the bottom line of his bank statement. Addressing it privately will ensure his status remains intact. Letting the new tax rate lead to “drastic changes” in his career, though, could directly impact how Mickelson is viewed by the legions of fans who have revered him for so long.

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Watch: McIlroy hits spectator on hand

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 2:58 pm

We never cease to wonder at how close fans crowd in to the intended line of some shots, and just how skilled Tour players are in not hitting someone.

But every once in a while, golf ball and spectator intersect, with painful results. It happened to Rory McIlroy during the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, after he had hit a wayward drive on the sixth hole. Attempting to hack out his second shot from under a bush, McIlroy struck a female spectator on her right hand. There was no official word on her condition, but she was clearly - and understandably - in pain.

McIlroy went on to make double bogey but was able to put the incident behind him, as he promptly birdied the next hole.

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Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

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Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

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Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.