Phil Mickelson’s British Open win earned him a cool $2.1 million paycheck, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get to take it all home. In fact, according to tax accountant K. Sean Packard, Mickelson will pay roughly 61 percent of his winnings in taxes in Scotland and the United States before all is said and done.
Mickelson has complained about taxes before, but this time he doesn’t have to, since Americans for Tax Reform is doing it for him. ATR, the anti-tax organization headed by Grover Norquist, is always quick to try its hand at using sports to bolster its arguments against every form of taxation, but it also always has a little trouble understanding how tax policy works in real life. But forget the ins and outs of tax policy, and just focus on this ridiculous question ATR’s Matt Blumenfeld posed near the end of his blog post about Mickelson’s taxes:
With an overwhelming majority of his earnings going straight to the tax collectors, will this be the last time “Lefty” competes on British soil?
For those unfamiliar, here’s how golf works: after a tournament’s first two rounds, a number of players with the worst scores are cut from the field. Anyone who makes the cut is guaranteed a paycheck, so players don’t have to win the tournament to get paid. Phil Mickelson has played in 20 British Opens and made the cut in 16 of them, so he’s quite familiar with the fact that he has to pay taxes on the money he wins on the Isle. And yet, he keeps showing up! In fact, he’s played in every British Open since 1994. And he’s not alone: the best golfers in the world show up in Britain every July too, just like they’ve done for more than a century. That’s why The Open is one of golf’s four major championships. Coincidentally, it’s also why ATR needs to either develop some better arguments to support its hatred of taxes or stop trolling us all with the bad ones it whips out every time an athlete cashes a paycheck.