2005: Newsmakers - Toms: Lawsuit has ‘taken its toll’

David Toms’ game quickly has gone from great to bad. The man who dominated the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February with remarkable precision has averaged 74.9 strokes in his last 11 rounds on the PGA Tour since late March.

What’s wrong? The answer apparently is related to a lawsuit he filed against his management firm of seven years.

Toms sued his agency, Links Sports Management, seeking money from an endorsement deal with Sharpie and termination of their 2002-2006 player-manager contract. The 13-page suit was filed in the 1st Judicial District Court in Shreveport, La., the first week of May. It said Links has not accepted a termination-of-contract letter Toms sent April 15.

“I don’t like controversy,” Toms told The Times of Shreveport. “I like people to get along, things to be smooth – that’s the way I try to live my life. Any time it’s not that way, mentally, it’s taken its toll the last six weeks or so.”

The suit claims breach of contract and fiduciary duty and also asks for compensatory damages with interest. It says Links failed to give Toms a check it received from Sanford, the parent company of Sharpie.

The suit also said Links “failed to diligently develop endorsement and sponsorship deals commensurate with Mr. Toms’ stature in the game. . . . Links Sports would at times alienate existing clients and other business associates” of Toms. It alleges Links charged “unconscionable” commission on deals with which Links Sports had little or no involvement.

“We have pursued an aggressive strategy to ensure his achievement as one of the best marketed players on the PGA Tour,” Links Sports, run by prominent agent David Parker of Plano, Texas, said in a statement to Golfweek.

Links Sports has represented about 30 professional golfers – including Kenny Perry, Loren Roberts and Chad Campbell – since it was founded 13 years ago.

“While we cannot comment on the specific issues of the lawsuit, we can say that we will aggressively defend our record of integrity and are confident of a favorable outcome,” the Links statement said.

Toms told The Times that he hopes to gain closure on the matter as soon as possible. “Hopefully this (suit) will speed up the process,” he said.

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