Tiger Woods weighs in on Phil Mickelson's tax comments

Woods moved from California to Florida in 1990s

SAN DIEGO - Golfer Tiger Woods Tuesday weighed in on statements made by fellow golfer Phil Mickelson about California's rising tax rate.

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Woods has returned to Torrey Pines to begin his 2013 PGA campaign at this weekend's Farmers Insurance Open. He's a six-time champion of the Farmers Insurance Open, but skipped it last year.

Woods spoke with 10News after a practice round to weigh in on what has become a local hot topic.

Woods, an Orange County native who grew up in Cypress, moved to Florida where there is no state income tax. Woods has made more than $100 million on the PGA tour throughout his career.

"Well, I moved out of here back in '96 for that reason," said Woods. "And I enjoy Florida, but I also understand what I think [Mickelson] was trying to say; I think he'll probably say it better in a little more detail."

On Wednesday, Mickelson plans to discuss the issue that landed him in hot water, following his pro-am round at Torrey Pines.

Mickelson spoke on Sunday about the "drastic changes" he may make in response to California's tax increase. His statements prompted questions on whether Mickelson is planning to a move outside out of the state.

Mickelson was referring to new federal and state taxes that he claimed will gobble up two-thirds of his $48 million income.

"There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that income zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn't work for me right now," Mickelson said Sunday.

He changed his tune Monday night, issuing the following statement:

"Right now, I'm like many Americans who are trying to understand the new tax laws. I've been learning a lot over the last few months and talking with people who are trying to help me make intelligent and informed decisions. 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."

But Mickelson did not withdraw what he said, which included blaming the state's high tax rates for causing him to back out as a minority owner of the San Diego Padres.

Mickelson's statement went on to say, "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."

Tax opponent Richard Rider told 10News that Mickelson will do exactly what his fellow California native Woods did -- move to a state without income taxes.

"The most obvious solution is that he's going to announce is his departure from the state," said Rider.

On Tuesday, Woods also addressed returning to Torrey Pines to a course he is familiar with.

"It's nice to be back. It's nice to get out there and play a course that I know," Woods said. "Obviously, it's different than what I remembered because it's normally not this dry, not normally this quick. We get this every now and again with the Santa Anas blowing."

The first round of the Farmers Insurance Open is set for Thursday, with Woods and Mickelson leading the field. Woods said he supported the idea of returning the U.S. Open to Torrey Pines and believes it could happen in the next 10 years. In 2008, Woods won the prestigious tournament in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.

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