Tiger Woods says he’s staying with his agent.
Mark Steinberg, who has been managing golf’s biggest start since 1999, did not renew his contract with IMG two weeks ago and no longer is with the company. Woods had his choice of staying with IMG or going with Steinberg.
The answer came Monday on Twitter. Woods posted: “Staying with Mark Steinberg. Total confidence in him. Excited about the next stage in my professional life. Fond memories of Mark McCormack.”
What remains to be seen is whether Steinberg signs with another management company or starts his own. Whatever the case, Woods will be going with him. Woods had been with IMG since he turned pro in 1996.
IMG announced a reorganization of its golf division two weeks ago, with Steinberg no longer involved. He had been negotiating a new deal with IMG when talks broke down.
Officials had said Woods and Annika Sorenstam would be free to leave IMG and stay with Steinberg if they wanted. Woods signed with IMG when he turned pro in August 1996, and Steinberg became his agent three years later.
At a press conference last month to promote the AT&T National outside Philadelphia, Woods was asked about his future with IMG and with Steinberg.
“I’m committed to both, with IMG, and Mark’s my agent,” Woods said at the time. “It’s been a great relationship. I had a chance to go through a lot of … basically my entire professional career and learn a lot about the business.”
Woods spoke of going to several dinners with IMG founder Mark H. McCormack until he died in 2003.
“Then obviously, my relationship with Mark (Steinberg),” he said. “But I’m very happy with both.”
Woods has a close relationship with Steinberg, a reserve on the Illinois basketball team that went to the Final Four in 1989, and Woods’ decision to stay with Steinberg likely won’t make much of a difference in his golf schedule or even his endorsements, as Steinberg did most of that work.
Steinberg has been actively seeking an endorsement for Woods’ bag since late last fall.
Guy Kinnings and Robbie Henchman have taken over as co-heads of IMG Golf. Kinnings was senior vice president of European golf operations, while Henchman was senior vice president of golf in Asia Pacific. Alastair Johnston, the vice chairman of IMG, will oversee the business of the golf division.