Mark McCormack Dead at 72

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 16, 2003, 4:00 pm
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Mark McCormack, the sports marketing pioneer whose company IMG represents Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and numerous other stars, died Friday at age 72.
McCormack died in a New York hospital four months after a heart attack left him in a coma, the Cleveland-based company said.
'Mark was great to my father and I, and we had numerous dinners together,' Woods said after completing a 71 in the second round of the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open. 'It was kind of a British Open tradition to have dinner together, and it's a loss for everybody.'
McCormack made the management of athletes' careers a big business, turning success in sports into commercial marketability. The concept began in 1960 on a handshake deal with Arnold Palmer.
'I think through the years, he has had probably as much influence on sports, generally, as anyone,' Palmer said when McCormack was first hospitalized. 'He's done a tremendous job representing athletes and various type of businesses. He's touched on just about everything in the sporting world.'
At the time, McCormack was a lawyer with the Cleveland firm Arter & Hadden. The representation deal with Palmer allowed McCormack to combine his expertise in law and business with a passion -- golf. He had learned the game playing with his father and poet Carl Sandburg, who was also his godfather.
McCormack's personal philosophy was, 'Be the best, learn the business, and expand by applying what you already know.'
McCormack, as chairman and chief executive officer, transformed International Management Group into a sports and entertainment complex of businesses simply known as IMG. It now has 80 offices in 32 countries and employs almost 3,000 people.
'He was a genius when it comes to sports marketing,' said Woods, who first met McCormack as a teenager during a practice round for the U.S. Open. 'If it wasn't for him obviously we wouldn't be in the position we are right now.'
The company's reach extends beyond sports, with actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Liv Tyler, and musicians Itzhak Perlman and Kiri te Kanawa among its clients.
IMG's client list includes other well-known names and trademarks, including the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the Nobel Foundation, the Kennedy Space Center and the Smithsonian Institution. McCormack even handled special projects for global leaders such as Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev and the pope.
IMG's list of current clients includes driver Michael Schumacher, tennis players Jennifer Capriati, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe, football's Joe Montana, basketball's Charles Barkley, hockey's Jaromir Jagr and Sergei Fedorov and golf's Gary Player, Sergio Garcia and Nancy Lopez.
'He's had more impact than probably anybody in the game from a business standpoint,' said Jack Nicklaus, who signed with IMG when he turned pro in 1962 and recently rejoined the agency. 'He made golf a business.
'Look at all the things he's been involved with -- tennis, all the athletes. He made managing people a business. He made it viable. He was an innovative man.'
IMG also represents models Gisele, Tyra Banks and Kate Moss, skaters Scott Hamilton and Kristi Yamaguchi, track star Michael Johnson, skier Picabo Street, broadcasters Jim Nantz and James Brown, and the USGA, the Grammys and New York Fashion Week.
IMG's broadcast division, TWI, formerly Trans World International, is an independent producer of televised sports programming and a distributor of sports TV rights.
An Army veteran with a law degree from Yale, McCormack also wrote several business advice books. McCormack had said he would never retire, and he was working when he was stricken in January.
As a golfer, McCormack played on the College of William and Mary team and qualified for the U.S. Open and several U.S. and British amateur tournaments.
McCormack was selected as one of the top 10 most powerful people in sports last December by The Sporting News. In May 1990, Sports Illustrated described McCormack as 'the most powerful man in sports.'
McCormack had three children from his first marriage to Nancy Breckenridge McCormack. His oldest son, Breck, joined IMG after law school and lives in Hong Kong, where he is president of IMG Asia and Pacific. Todd lives in Newton, Mass., and is president of TWIinteractive. Daughter Leslie works in London where she is a vice president of IMG.
A native of Chicago, McCormack married Betsy Nagelsen in 1986. Nagelsen is a two-time Australian Open doubles champion and a Wimbledon doubles finalist. Their daughter, Maggie, was born in December of 1997.
A spokeswoman for IMG declined to identify the hospital where McCormack died.
He is survived by his wife and four children. A private burial will be in Chicago, followed by a memorial on May 21 in New York.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

Getty Images

Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.