Phil Mickelson stunned the golf world on Sunday, winning the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Ocean Course in South Carolina. Mickelson, who last won a major championship in 2013, finished two strokes ahead of runners-up Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen.
It was the sixth career major victory for Mickelson. He won his first in 2004, when he came out on top at the Masters Tournament, with a birdie on the final hole.
At age 50, Mickelson becomes the oldest golfer to win a major. Julius Boros previously held that distinction by winning the PGA Championship as a 48-year-old in 1968. While every sport is different, Mickelson is 15 years older than Michael Jordan was when His Airness won his final NBA title. Mickelson is also seven years older than Tom Brady, who won his seventh Super Bowl in February. Mickelson is so advanced in the years that he’s eligible for full membership with the American Association of Retired Persons. He’s also a decade older than is required to sue under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Mickelson’s prize for winning the 2021 Championship is $2.16 million from the tournament’s $12 million purse. That’s before taxes.
Mickelson will be obligated to pay a federal income tax rate of 37% on his winnings. He’ll also be subject to a federal payroll tax of 1.45% after applicable deductions. Further, Mickelson is on the hook to pay South Carolina’s state income tax. That rate is 7% on winnings in excess of $15,400. This means Mickelson will net approximately $1.16 million after federal and South Carolina taxes.
But Mickelson might face taxes from an additional state: California. Media reports indicate that while he is in the process of building a home on Florida’s Jupiter Island (where there is no state income tax), he has reportedly lived in Rancho Santa Fe, California, for some time. Assuming Mickelson is a California resident, he would lose about $140,000 more in taxes and net approximately $1.02 million.
Keep in mind, that is an estimate, one that doesn’t take into consideration potential outlays for agents’ fees, caddie tips and travel deductions.
But it’s reasonable to estimate that Mickelson will lose more than 45% of his prize, and possibly more than 50%.
Mickelson, who has earned $94 million in career earnings (not including many millions more in endorsement deals with Rolex, Callaway Golf and other top brands), is no stranger to the topic of taxes. In 2013, he publicly complained about the combination of federal and state taxes as a California resident. California, of course, has the highest state income tax rate in the country. “I happen to be in that zone,” Mickelson observed, “that has been targeted both federally and by the state, and it doesn’t work for me right now.”
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