SBD/14/Sports Industrialists

THIS MERCHANT OUT OF WOODS' BUSINESS

          A "struggle for control of TIGER WOODS' charitable
     endeavors" has ended with EARL WOODS, Tiger's father,
     "firing" JOHN MERCHANT as Tiger's primary legal advisor,
     according to Adam Barr of GOLFWEEK.  Earl Woods said the
     reason for the split was Merchant's role as Exec Dir of the
     National Minority Golf Foundation: "We felt it was in our
     best interests to have John pursue full time the NMGF,
     because he was getting stretched pretty thin.  He was a
     full-time employee of ours, and yet, he was trying to get
     the NMGF started."  Barr notes that members of the Woods
     family want to "channel" their charitable efforts into the
     newly formed Tiger Woods Foundation, and according to Barr,
     Merchant's relationship with the Woods' was dissolved "after
     a tense" December 10 business meeting where "tempers flared
     when Merchant expressed his opinion that Tiger and Nike Inc.
     ... were planning their own charitable agenda without
     involving Merchant and the National Minority Golf
     Foundation."  Barr notes that Merchant said he has decided
     to resign his NMGF post (GOLFWEEK, 1/11 issue).
          TIGER NEWS & NOTES: Woods will play in the AT&T Pebble
     Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament later this month, and
     "Tin Cup" star KEVIN COSTNER will be his amateur partner,
     tournament Exec Dir Lou Russo confirmed yesterday (S.F.
     CHRONICLE, 1/14)....Amidst reports that Woods rebuffed a
     request from BOB HOPE to play in the Bob Hope Classic, Bob
     Hope Classic President Ernie Dunlevie said yesterday that
     Woods "absolutely did not blow us off.  Bob did call Tiger. 
     Tiger was very nice.  Our tournament does not fit into his
     schedule."  But IMG spokesperson Bev Norwood said that Woods
     never spoke to Hope (WASHINGTON POST, 1/14). 

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