The last time Tiger Woods won a tournament, LeBron James and the Miami Heat captured their second straight NBA title after defeating the San Antonio Spurs.
To capture his 80th career victory, Tiger won the Tour Championship last month to win his first golf tournament in over five years.
Fans around the world were fortunate enough to have a glimpse of vintage Tiger as an incredible sea of people followed him up the fairway to the 18th green at East Lake in Atlanta, GA. However, the person who was most in awe by his perseverance and monumental achievement was his longtime friend and agent, Mark Steinberg.
Since 1998, Steinberg has represented Woods. Before becoming a partner at Excel Sports Management, Steinberg led the global golf division at IMG. Throughout the past decade of representing Tiger, there have been plenty of ups and downs which include numerous back surgeries, a scandal and a DUI arrest. But, Steinberg admits that this 80th victory and Tour Championship win was maybe even sweeter than Tiger’s major championships. According to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, Steinberg said, “I’m just so happy for him – after what he’s been through and the work he’s put in both on and off the course. He’s very deserving, and I think he is showing appreciation for it differently than he did years ago.”
Not long after Tiger’s win, Steinberg got on a plane, connected to WiFi and his phone blew up with over 1,400 congratulatory emails and texts filled. Along with thousands of congratulations messages, there were many interests in sponsorship deals that came rushing in as well.
Over the course of Tiger’s career, Steinberg has negotiated several endorsement deals with companies such as Rolex, AT&T, Gatorade, Buick and Gillette. However, these companies dropped their endorsements in response to Woods’ infidelity scandal that occurred in 2009. Throughout Tiger’s tumultuous career both on and off the golf course, Nike remained loyal and stuck with Woods and Steinberg. Nike signed Tiger in 1996 and built its golf division around him. The most recent contract that Tiger signed with Nike in 2013 was reportedly worth $100 million. Aside from Nike, current sponsors include Bridgestone, Upper Deck, Kowa and Monster Energy. According to Forbes, Tiger earned $1.3 million from his salary and winnings while earning $42 million from sponsorships.
When Tiger has time to decompress after his win and representing the United States in the Ryder Cup in Paris last week, Steinberg says they both will sit down and discuss their plan for 2019 sponsorship opportunities. Steinberg said, “The sky is the limit now. I’ve been in discussions with companies for several months. We are going to have to decide what we are going to do. The number of events who want him to appear overseas is probably higher than it was in the quote-unquote heyday”.
Steinberg has a lot of work to do with Tiger behind the scenes to assess their business opportunities for the 2019 season. Prior to Woods’ Tour Championship win, perhaps the event most fans are looking forward to is the pay-per-view match with Phil Michelson for upwards of $10 million the day after Thanksgiving.
In addition to representing Tiger, Steinberg’s clientele includes 27 golfers including rising superstars Justin Thomas, Matt Kucher and 2018 FedEx Cup winner, Justin Rose.