Club Management: Sports Agents Vie For Increasing Role In Game Of Golf
The off-the-course area for a pro golfer is "of increasing importance," and that means agents have become “crucial to the life of a top golfer,” according to Will Tidey of CNN.com. Chubby Chandler, who runs International Sports Management, is “arguably the biggest player in golf today." ISM represents “two of golf's four reigning major champions, and has four players inside the world's top 20.” Not much happens in the sport without Chandler "knowing about it first.” ISM, founded in '89, “looks after the interests of 48 golfers, 20 cricketers, 41 footballers and a Paralympic gold medallist.” Golf World Editor Chris Jones said of Chandler, "He could bring down a tournament if his biggest players decided not to play in it. Potentially, that's a dangerous amount of power to hold." Chandler said, "We've certainly got influence, but I don't think we use it unfairly. I don't think it's an unhealthy situation." Tidey noted Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, both repped by Chandler, skipped The Players last month, and if this "was Chandler against the PGA Tour, then he wasn't pulling his punches." He wants the "best for his players, and the best meant pulling two of his biggest draws from one of the highest-profile tournaments in the world." Meanwhile, golf's “power base has shifted across the Atlantic,” and from a “management perspective, the traditionally all-powerful IMG agency has been forced to concede some influence.” After Mark Steinberg left IMG last month, Tiger Woods decided “to stick with the man he has worked with since 1998 rather than stay with the company that has done more than most to boost golfers' incomes.” IMG now is “without a major winner but it does represent England's Luke Donald -- the latest world No. 1.” Woods’ move “underlined the importance that such ‘super agents’ have in the modern game of golf” (CNN.com, 6/14).