Tiger leaves IMG, stays loyal to agent

Former world golf’s number one Tiger Woods has decided to leave IMG, the management company responsible for making him one of the wealthiest sportsmen in the world since 1996 when he started his professional golf career.

This came after the expiration of the contract of Mark Steinberg, long-time agent of Woods, with IMG. Woods decided to stay with Steinberg.

“Staying with Mark Steinberg. Total confidence in him,” Woods wrote on social networking website Twitter.

“Excited about the next stage in my professional life. Fond memories of Mark McCormack.”

IMG was founded by McCormack who died in 2003.

Steinberg has handled the endorsements of Woods since 1998 but his agent’s departure from IMG allegedly stemmed from the golfer’s declining fortune.

The loss of some of Woods’ lucrative sponsorship deals came as a result of the scandal brought about by his marital infidelities and his failure to win a tournament since the latter part of 2009.

The 35-year old Woods has been struggling this year with knee and other injuries, which has further dropped him in the rankings to No. 15.  His existing deals with Golf Digest however still earned him $70 million in 2010.

The New York Times and the Sports Business Journal reported that IMG could no longer afford the salary of Steinberg with the reduced earnings of Woods.

Woods suffered from leg problems at the Masters in April but is trying to be fit for the U.S Open this month. This is a major tournament won by Woods three times in the past. He only completed nine holes during the Players Championship last month before he pulled out of the event due to aggravated injuries.