SAN DIEGO — Phil Mickelson turned to his biggest blunder on the golf course to apologize for his latest mistake with his mouth Wednesday as he prepares for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Mickelson caused a sensation this week by saying new federal and state tax rates kept him from being part of the San Diego Padres’ new ownership group and might cause him to move away from his native California as part of ‘‘drastic changes’’ brought on by the political climate.
He said Wednesday it was a ‘‘big mistake’’ to go public with his views, and he illustrated it with his worst moment in golf.
Mickelson was on the verge of finally winning the US Open when he had a one-shot lead on the final hole at Winged Foot. He drove left onto the corporate tents, and then tried to hit 3-iron around a tree. It led to a double bogey that cost him the championship.
‘‘This reminds me a lot of Winged Foot in 2006, where I hit a drive way left off the tents. So this happened to be way right,’’ Mickelson said, a playful reference to his position on the higher taxes. ‘‘I’ve made some dumb, dumb mistakes. And obviously, talking about this stuff was one of them.’’
Golf Digest magazine listed Mickelson’s earnings on and off the golf course last year at $47 million, and millionaires complaining about their taxes is sure to be a polarizing topic. Mickelson figured that out quickly, issuing a statement on Monday that he should have kept his opinion to himself.
About the only thing missing from the Winged Foot story was a repeat of his most memorable line that day: ‘‘I am such an idiot.’’
He said that in so many words with several self-deprecating moments that concluded a bizarre early afternoon on a cloudy day at Torrey Pines. Mickelson stayed in his car with his publicist for nearly 40 minutes, as reporters waited for his press conference to begin and Golf Channel — which televised it live — bought time. He finally emerged from the car only to lean against the trunk for 20 minutes talking with his publicist and a PGA Tour media official.
‘‘Just trying to gather my thoughts,’’ he said.
Mickelson dodged several questions about whether he would leave San Diego or his thoughts on taxes, only ceding to the temptation one time when he said he has never had a problem paying his fair share of taxes.