Friendly Buyer to Purchase IMG
No, were not talking about Singhs recent ascendancy to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings. Were talking about the fact that Singhs long-time pro-am partner, Wall Street leveraged buyout king Teddie Forstmann, has agreed to purchase the International Management Group for a reported price of more than $700 million.
IMG, which represents Singh, Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam and many other prominent athletes inside and outside golf, has been without a chairman since the death of its founder, Mark McCormack, in May of 2003.
Forstmann and McCormack were friends and sources say that friendship factored into Forstmanns fund group, Forstmann Little & Co., winning the highly-competitive bidding war for IMG. It should be noted that IMG is not a publicly held company and this was not a hostile takeover.
In fact the early reports at IMG are that the arrival on the scene of Forstmann will be for the better. IMG employees received a copy of the press release announcing the purchase attached to a cover memo informing them, basically, that this was a good thing.
The assumption is that he (Forstmann) will be chairman and remain chairman as long as he owns the company, said an IMG source.
Forstmann, 64, is taking pains to point out that he will continue to run Forstmann Little. My professional responsibility is to make a return for investors, he told Reuters. But theres no rule against having a good time while youre doing it. And I expect to have a very good time with these guys (IMG).
Singh and Forstmann are partnering this week at the dunhill links Championship in Scotland. Forstmann is also expected to attend the Champions Dinner next week at the HSBC World Match Play Championship at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England.
And oh-by-the-way, IMG runs the World Match Play.
The long term effects of Forstmann on IMG arent completely clear. But his golf background has everybody breathing a little more easily. Comfort is also being taken from the fact that Forstmann Little enlisted the services of Gleacher & Company, an acquisitions advisory firm, to dot the Is and cross the Ts on the acquisition. Eric Gleacher, the companys head, is a former college golfer and USGA secretary.
In any event, its suddenly amusing to certain individuals in golf that Singh is more likely to have his phone calls returned by the top guy at IMG than Woods is.
The fact of the matter is that Alastair Johnston and Robert Kain, IMGs current co-chief executives, will continue to run the day-to-day business of the company. To the extent that Forstmann will have influence, it will be on decisions to grow the company and determine new directions.
Depending on how seriously he takes that charge, and how much he applies his contacts in the business world, Forstmann could one day become one of the two or three most powerful figures in golf.
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Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW
PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.
The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.
Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.
Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.
Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.
Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.
Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).
Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park
So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.
She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.
So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.
“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”
So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.
“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.
World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.
“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”
Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups
Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.
He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament
In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.
River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)
CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.
Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.
Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.
“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”
Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.
While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.
It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.
“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’”