Phil Mickelson backs off on tough tax talk

Golfer says he hasn't made decision to leave California and will keep his finances to himself from now on.

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LA JOLLA — Phil Mickelson, an expert at applying backspin on the golf course, issued a statement clarifying comments he made Sunday indicating he might move out of California because of the state's income tax laws.

"I'm like many Americans who are trying to understand the new tax laws," Mickelson's statement read in part. "I certainly don't have a definitive plan at this time, but like everyone else I want to make decisions that are best for my future and my family. Finances and taxes are a personal matter and I should not have made my opinions on them public. I apologize to those I have upset or insulted and assure you I intend to not let it happen again."

After completing Sunday's Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Mickelson was quoted as saying he might move, or even consider retirement, because of increased taxes he said had pushed his tax rate to "62, 63%."

"It's been an interesting off-season," Mickelson, a lifelong San Diego-area resident, said. "And I'm going to have to make some drastic changes."

Several golfers, including Tiger Woods, have moved to Florida because it has no state income tax.

Woods addressed Mickelson's original comments at a Tuesday morning news conference in advance of this week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

"Well, I moved out of here back in '96 for that reason," said Woods, who grew up in Southern California. "I enjoy Florida, but also I understand what he was, I think, trying to say."

Woods and Mickelson are both entered in this week's event. Mickelson is scheduled to address the media Wednesday.

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