Business Edge for Tuesday April 24 2001


The latest:
Its spring, and of course a young mans thoughts turn torepresentation, at least if hes a senior college golf sensation. Player agents are working overtime to sign the best prospects coming out of school, with an eye toward one day garnering big endorsement deals for them. Heres a look at three of the most notable soon-to-be grads:
Bryce Molder, Georgia Tech: Two finalists ' Gaylord Sports Management of Scottsdale, Ariz. and International Golf Partners of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. ' are said to be in the running for Molder, who has been familiar to followers of amateur golf since his high school days. (IGP admits its recruiting Molder; Gaylord says its not recruiting Molder, but that Molder has been considering Gaylord.)
Gaylord has done a fine job with young players such as Phil Mickelson and Billy Mayfair, among others. But IGP has Glen Day, who is not only a friend of Molders, but a student of Molders teacher, Danny Snider of the Chenal Club in Little Rock, Ark.
Luke Donald, Northwestern: Donald earned three of 15 points for Great Britain and Ireland in the 1999 Walker Cup Match, including one from Bryce Molder in a final-day singles match. Said to be in the hunt to get him as a pro are International Management Group of Cleveland, SFX Sports Group of Washington, D.C., and Hambric Sports Management of Dallas.
IMG, still considered the uberagent of the industry, of course already has Tiger Woods as chief horse in an enormous stable. SFX still has the troubled John Daly, but has invested in young talent already by signing Hunter Haas. Hambric has a solid reputation and a small-but-healthy client list that includes the likes of Bob Tway and Mark Brooks.
Hambric also has former Oklahoma State star Charles Howell III, the long-hitting player who missed getting his tour card at last years Qualifying Tournament. Howell continues to work the exemption trail to earn his way into Tour membership. But his experience shows that signing even the most promising young player is a gamble that might not pay off right away. Hambric, and the rest of the golf world, continue to express confidence that Howells day will come, and sooner rather than later.
Lucas Glover, Clemson: Agencies said to be recruiting Glover are Hambric, Players Group Inc. of Reston, Va., and Octagon or Richmond, Va. Players has Glover family friend Jay Haas for extra pull, but Octagon has been signing Clemson grads for years. And Octagon chief Vinny Giles, a prominent amateur player himself, is said to have a knack for talking to young prospects.
Look for signings after the U.S. Amateur in August ' and plenty of parry and thrust from the agents between now and then.