Things aren't any getting easier for Tiger Woods. Hours after stating his satisfaction with both his agent, Mark Steinberg, and his agent's company, IMG, the news broke that "Steiny" and IMG had in fact split. Steve Elling of CBSSports.com says that Steinberg's departure is yet another headache for Woods to deal with.
It presents Woods with more nagging, niggling details to sort out as he tries to re-assemble a reputation and career that have corroded from the bottom up starting with his 2009 sex scandal. Now he is facing yet another big-money divorce -- either from his agent and friend, Steinberg, or the management firm that helped put him on the marketing map and secured endorsement deals that made him the first billionaire earner in sports history.
"I'm very happy with both," Woods said Tuesday.
It adds another layer to the upchucking upheaval in Woods' personal and private lives, and in this instance, there's crossover. Steinberg stuck by Woods at his lowest ebb as the stomach-turning scandal played out -- sure, he had a financial stake in it -- and is one of Woods' few personal confidants. A divorce from IMG or Steinberg is going to potentially cut across all boundaries.
The latest falling domino adds another level of stress in an area where Woods is particularly vulnerable -- his wallet. The nuances of the agent game are interesting, because while agencies often solicit and land endorsement deals for clients, companies often take the initiative, too. They make the first call, and big firms like IMG then match up the particulars of the prospective corporate endorsement deal with the best sports figure in its client closet.
Woods won't be benefiting from any of those handout deals anymore. In fact, IMG negotiated his appearance fees, often at tournaments run overseas by one of IMG's subsidiaries (incest layer duly noted). Woods' last victory, 18 months ago at the Aussie Masters, came while he was receiving $3 million from a tournament run by IMG. His appearance-fee deal with Dubai has also reportedly expired, another revenue source that has dried up like spit in a desert.
He may trail Lee Westwood by the slightest of margins for No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but Luke Donald has a case to claim he is the best player in the world right now. Westwood said earlier in 2011 that he prized the world’s top spot because the system rewards consistency over winning a major as a freak accident. Fair enough, but Donald feels he has been more consistent than Westwood in 2011.
"I think I’m the most consistent right now. I feel I’ve proven that over the last few months," he said. "I don’t know whether you choose someone who’s won Majors or go with someone who has chances every week, but naturally my view is consistency pays.
"Does the way I’ve been playing make me best at the moment? Yes, I think so.
"And there’s a good possibility I could take over anyway this weekend. A win here would definitely get the job done."
If you take the American view, why would you go all the way to London for one tournament that is not part of your tour? Sure, the prize money is significant, but PGA Tour players compete for huge sums every week. The Scotsman referred to it as apathy, but it's more a matter of too much of a good thing.The Next Great American Golf Prodigy?
Lucas Glover received 58 world ranking points for claiming the Wells Fargo Championship three weeks ago, while the winner at Wentworth will get 64. For Americans, it's not that big of a difference. They've got plenty of tournaments to earn world ranking points nearer to their backyard.
Wells Fargo, the Players Championship and Colonial are the three tournaments just contested on the PGA Tour. This week's HP Byron Nelson Championship has attracted just one top-10 player, Matt Kuchar, and only 10 of the top 50, but next week is Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament followed in two weeks by the U.S. Open.
PGA Tour players, especially Americans, are accused of being insular, and yet it's hard to blame them when they have so many excellent tournaments to play here.