Steinberg weighing options after leaving IMG
The future of Mark Steinberg, Tiger Woods’ longtime agent, remains uncertain a week after he departed powerhouse firm IMG, where he headed its golf division.
Neither Steinberg nor Woods has commented about the situation, although reports have surfaced that Steinberg is interviewing with Creative Artists Agency and at least one other management company.
IMG officials confirmed a reorganization of their golf division and said Woods was free to leave with Steinberg, whose contract was set to expire June 1.
Sources who had seen an IMG memo told Golfweek that Alastair Johnston will oversee the golf division and there will be two co-managers: Guy Kinnings and Robbie Henchman. Kinnings is IMG’s senior vice president of European golf; Henchman is the senior vice president of Asian Pacific golf.
Woods has been with IMG since he turned pro in 1996. His first agent was Hughes Norton. Steinberg took over those duties in 1999, and it’s generally accepted that he is closer to Woods than anyone.
Although known mostly as Woods’ agent, Steinberg served as an IMG senior vice president and global managing director. He helped oversee one of the largest stables of professional golfers and a business division that has a stake in almost every aspect of the sport, including tournament ownership and operations, course design and television.
But ultimately, Steinberg is inextricably linked to Woods and credited for making him the most marketable athlete in the world, creating an endorsement portfolio that at its peak generated a reported $110 million annually for Woods.
In the aftermath of Woods’ personal-life crisis, however, Steinberg endured watching companies such as Accenture, AT&T and Tag Heuer drop his client. He also weathered criticism for Woods’ public-relations efforts during the ordeal and faced internal pressure within the IMG world to make repairs.
Asked about rumors that there was a change coming at IMG, Woods said May 24 during an AT&T National news conference that he was committed to the group and Steinberg.
“It’s been a great relationship,” Woods said. “I’ve been with him ever since I turned pro.”
Apparently, that connection will remain, though without the IMG association.