Annika Sorenstam Will Remain With IMG After Steinberg's Departure
IMG yesterday announced that World Golf HOFer Annika Sorenstam has renewed her agreement with IMG for worldwide management and marketing representation. Sorenstam had been represented by Tiger Woods' agent Mark Steinberg, who recently left IMG and became a full partner in Excel Sports Management. "After much consideration and in light of my ambitions for the next phase of my career, I have determined that IMG remains the company best positioned to support me and the ANNIKA portfolio of businesses," Sorenstam said in a statement. "IMG's experience and global resources are unmatched and I look forward to continuing to work with them across all aspects of my business and charitable initiatives." Sorenstam will be represented by IMG VP/Golf Jon Heaton, the longtime agent to golfer Steve Stricker (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal). GOLF DIGEST's Ron Sirak cited sources as saying that Stricker, who was Steinberg's roommate at the Univ. of Illinois, "has also decided to stay at IMG and not join him" at his new agency. Excel "picked up the game's biggest name in Woods, but for a variety of reasons -- a tarnished reputation, physical injuries and poor play among them -- it is difficult to assess his market value." Sorenstam, on the other hand, "has emerged as an eloquent spokesperson for not just women's golf and the game of golf, but on a variety of issues." Sirak wrote her decision to remain with IMG is a "vote of confidence" in the company (GOLFDIGEST.com, 7/27).
A TOUGH DECISION: Sorenstam discussed her decision to remain with IMG this morning during her weekly appearance on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” She said it was a “tough decision,” as she has been with IMG “for a long time, but mostly I've been with Mark.” Sorenstam: “When he decided to leave a few months ago, I was kind of debating, what shall I do? Where am I in my career? … I decided to stay with IMG because I feel like they really have the international reach that I'm looking for.” She said she has been talking to Steinberg “for months” and was aware he was leaving IMG. However, Sorenstam added she was not going to “make a decision until you tell me where you're going” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 7/28).