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Volume 24 No. 113

Labor and Agents

Jon Wagner, who abruptly left IMG Golf in May, has agreed not to sign any IMG golfers for two years and not to hire former IMG agents Jeff Stacy and Kevin Lynch for one year. Wagner, who had been jointly responsible for IMG Golf’s North America business with Clarke Jones, was an agent and event manager for the company, representing Sean O’Hair and Trevor Immelman, among others. He agreed to those restrictions, which were already in his contract at IMG, as part of a legal settlement with his former employer. Wagner left IMG in May to start his own shop, Milestone Sports Management, and attempted to bring Stacy and Lynch with him, as well as O’Hair and former Masters champ Immelman. IMG responded with a temporary restraining order in Cuyahoga County (OH) court of common pleas that prevented Wagner from making those moves, based on the non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in his employee agreement. The settlement also requires Wagner to pay IMG an undisclosed amount of money. With Wagner prohibited from signing O’Hair and Immelman, they are without an agent for the time being. Wagner, however, is free to sign other non-IMG players and employees at Milestone, while also pursuing consulting clients on the brand side. IMG remains involved in a similar legal case in the Cuyahoga County courts against another former golf agent, Jon Heaton, who had been assigned to oversee Luke Donald’s U.S. business, as well as Steve Stricker. Heaton left the company last month to go to work for former IMG agent Mark Steinberg at Excel Sports Management. Steinberg and Excel have since been added as co-defendants in the case as IMG tries to prevent Heaton from going to work with Steinberg. IMG has a temporary restraining order against Heaton to prevent him from taking any IMG golfers with him. IMG also filed for a restraining order against Excel last week, but the court’s website said that motion was denied. Another date in the case has been set for later this month.