Notes A handshake with Palmer leads to IMG history

By Doug FergusonDecember 29, 2010, 12:41 am

A handshake with Arnold Palmer led to the creation of IMG. It also produced thousands of boxes containing letters, memos and other documents that help explain how the late Mark H. McCormack built the largest sports management company in the world.

Todd McCormack describes his father as a “pack rat to the first degree.”

Turns out that’s not such a bad thing.

Those boxes, sitting in a Cleveland warehouse since his death in 2003, have been given to the University of Massachusetts to be used for research and education at the Isenberg School of Management.

“There’s a wealth of knowledge in the entire collection,” said Lisa Masteralexis, the associate professor who helped secure the McCormack archives. “You can see how the man was thinking beyond his books.”

McCormack also was the author of the popular “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School” series.

That handshake with Palmer in 1960 is what started IMG, and McCormack soon signed Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Derek Jeter and a host of other athletes and celebrities all the way through Tiger Woods.

Along the way, McCormack kept meticulous records and had a unique way of keeping track of them. They are referred to as the “Chron Files” – short for chronology – and include memos, letters, business schedules, agendas and everything else in a certain month and year. Masteralexis said he would send them to his children to read so they could understand the business.

His vast archives will now be housed at the renamed Mark H. McCormack Department of Sports Management at Isenberg in honor of the family’s support. The family also has given $1.5 million to endow an executive-in-residence program and an international partnership program, both named after McCormack.

Just how big is the collection?

Masteralexis estimates up to 48,000 boxes were stored in Cleveland, and the staff will start sorting through them early next year. A big part of the project – and another reason UMass was selected for the gift – is to digitalize as much as it can through the university’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

Some of the files are duplicates – a memo from May 1974 might also be stored in a file devoted to Palmer. When it all gets compiled, Masteralexis believes it will amount to some 16,000 linear feet of material.

“There will be a museum piece down the road,” said Mark Fuller, dean of the Isenberg School. “There’s also some video, audio and interviews with him, as well as memorabilia. It’s quite an exciting life he lived. Part of the agreement with the family is to pull that all together. Our goal down the road is using this as a platform to educate people around the world.”

McCormack had no connection with UMass. His son contacted the Sports Business Journal with the idea, and it gave him the names of some of the top programs, including the Isenberg School. Instead of splitting up the collection, the various schools submitted proposals.

Fuller described the archives as one of the last examples of a true paper trail, especially in this era of technology.

“Mark was all about keeping records, and I think he knew he was onto something,” Fuller said. “You can see a life live through documents. I saw the first meeting minutes – Mark, Jay LaFave and their two wives at a kitchen table. To go through and see the behemoth we know of IMG, with 80 offices in 35 countries is impressive.”

Not all the correspondence and such material will be made public, especially related to clients. Masteralexis said there are privacy issues, and that no document can be published without the permission of whomever is involved.

LOUIS TO AFRICA: The 2011 golf season begins next week with as many major champions at the Africa Open as the Tournament of Championship on Maui – one each.

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had booked a room at Kapalua to begin his PGA Tour season, until deciding the travel might be too much so early in the season. Instead, he will play in the Africa Open in his native South Africa.

The Africa Open, which is part of the European Tour schedule, also features defending champion Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel.

“I decided not to go and play the two tournaments in Hawaii because that won’t leave me with enough off time before the start of the new season,” Oosthuizen said on a story posted on the European Tour’s website.

That leaves U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell as the lone major champion at Kapalua. It will be the fourth time in the last six years that the PGA Tour’s season opener had only one current major champion. That’s mostly a product of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson not playing, and Padraig Harrington taking time off.

SURPRISE VISITOR: The PGA Tour already was expecting not to have several players at the season-opening Tournament of Champions. Rory McIlroy decided not to renew his membership, while Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer are not PGA Tour members, and they did not want it to count against the minimum events they can play.

Louis Oosthuizen is staying home to play the Africa Open, and Phil Mickelson stopped coming to Kapalua in 2002.

Only recently did tournament officials get a surprise entry – Francesco Molinari of Italy. He qualified by winning the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, which is not an official PGA Tour victory unless won by a tour member. The tour still grants entry to the Tournament of Champions no matter who wins.

Molinari does not need to worry about it counting against his minimum starts on the U.S. tour because he rarely players in America except for the majors, World Golf Championships and The Players Championships.

The only other “regular” tour event he played was the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2009, a week before the PGA Championship.

DIVOTS: Ending an already strong year on a high note, the PGA Tour announced a marketing deal with InterContinental Hotels Group. Among its brands is Crowne Plaza, which has extended its title sponsorship of Colonial through 2015. That gives the tour 18 title sponsors signed at least for the next four years. … Only six players who opened the year at Kapalua return next week for the Tournament of Champions – Geoff Ogilvy, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson and Heath Slocum.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Six players who started the year outside the top 100 in the world ranking have finished inside the top 50. All of them primarily played on the PGA Tour except for K.T. Kim.

FINAL WORD: “People know what he’s doing and they’re watching. They’re watching what he does, whether he thinks so or not. But I think he knows.” – Arnold Palmer on Tiger Woods.

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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.


Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish


U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)


The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself


PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts



Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret


Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm