Open champion Rose jumps to Excel for management

Justin Rose during a press conference at the Travelers Championship.

Justin Rose during a press conference at the Travelers Championship.

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CROMWELL, Conn. – As Justin Rose addressed reporters for upwards of 45 minutes late Sunday night at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., Marcus Day worked feverishly on his BlackBerry at the back of the media center.

Rose’s victory in the U.S. Open was great for the Englishman’s career and good for his off-course business interests, which is why Day had his head down. As one of the sports agents who works at 4sports & Entertainment, Day manages many of Rose’s business affairs.

Or should we say, "used to," because after opening with a 3-under 67 in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands, Rose confirmed that he had left 4sports to join Tiger Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, at Excel Sports Management.

“The timing is kind of ironic, I suppose, with everything that’s happened,” said Rose, a reference to his U.S. Open win. “But it’s a decision I made quite some time ago and things take some time to figure themselves out.”

Earlier in the day, Day confirmed the rumors via email to Golfweek: “Following six successful years at leading sports management agency 4sports & Entertainment AG, Justin Rose will as of this day forward be represented by U.S.-based Excel Sports Management. Having risen from 125 in the world rankings when he joined 4sports to current world number three and U.S. Open champion, Rose has chosen to utilize the U.S. resource base of Excel Sports Management for his future representation. For all further inquiries regarding Justin Rose, please contact Excel Sports Management."

Efforts to reach Steinberg, whose clients include Woods, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland, were unsuccessful. Steinberg replied via email that he was in meetings. An Excel associate, Lance Young, was seen with Rose after the first round at the Travelers.

One of Rose’s close friends confirmed a few days ago that the decision was a very difficult one “because Justin has been with these guys for a few years and feels a sense of loyalty.” But 4sports, based in Switzerland, runs a subsidiary in London. Though its stable of athletes includes other golfers – Europeans Peter Hanson, Peter Hedblom, Paul Lawrie and Edoardo Molinari among them – mostly the agency is known for its representation of professional hockey players, many of them European. Rose reportedly was looking to enhance marketing opportunities and thinks he will get that opportunity with Excel, which in addition to Woods manages the careers of basketball and baseball stars.

“With me playing so much here in the States and where I felt my game was going, I just felt it was a decision I wanted to make to move on,” Rose said.

Steinberg worked for years at IMG and ran that group’s golf division. He left IMG two years ago and has been slowly building the Excel golf division. After signing Woods, Steinberg has added Kuchar and Woodland, plus the LPGA’s Danielle Kang. Earlier this week, Excel announced that two college stars – Washington’s Chris Williams, formerly the No. 1-ranked amateur, and Illinois’ Thomas Pieters, the 2012 NCAA champion – had turned professional and signed with the agency.

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