Justin Rose followed his brilliant US Open victory by joining the same management company last night that represents Tiger Woods. Rose parted company with British based 4Sports & Entertainment AG to join the growing golf empire run by Mark Steinberg on behalf of Excel Sports.
The move is a coup for Steinberg who adds Rose's name to a list that includes Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland as well as Woods. Rose's first major victory last Sunday elevated him into the golfing elite, underscored by his world ranking of No 3.
It is understood that Rose had been in negotiations with Steinberg for the past three weeks since the Memorial Tournament in Ohio, where Woods was in the field. But there was no sign that a switch was imminent after his Merion win and subsequent media tour of New York, overseen by his former agent Marcus Day.
Rose follows Rory McIlroy in changing representation, though his move appears much cleaner as he seeks to maximise a profile that was already on an upward trajectory before Merion. His entry into the exclusive major-winners club will see his earnings potential rocket still further.
Rose already shared a coach with Woods, Sean Foley, and is known to get on well with the world no.1. Since he is also part of the Florida golfing community there is an obvious logic to tapping into the commercial expertise surrounding Woods in the United States. He takes with him commercial deals with equipment manufacturer TaylorMade/adidas, clothing company Ashworth, Jumeriah Golf Estates, Goodwood and British Airways, who named a new flight number after Rose's winning total at Merion; BA 281.
A statement from 4 Sports said: “Following six successful years at leading sports management agency 4sports & Entertainment AG, Justin Rose will as of this day forward be represented by US based Excel Sports Management.
“Having risen from 125 in the world rankings when he joined 4sports, to current world number three and US Open Champion, Rose has chosen to utilise the US resource base of Excel Sports Management for his future representation.”
Rose returned to the golf course at the Travelers Championship as if he had never been away, recording a birdie at the first. The past week then appeared to catch up with him with three bogeys in four holes before a second birdie took him to the turn one over par.
Hunter Mahan, who played in the final pairing at Merion with Phil Mickelson before falling away over the arduous closing holes, set aside his disappointment with a bogey-free opening round of 62.
“I had a good attitude. Got last week out of my system and hit a lot of good shots,” Mahan said. “The last couple of months have been a continuous effort. Last week gave me confidence and this is a place I like to play.”
Lee Westwood, who finished 15th at Merion, was out in 31, but a double bogey on the back nine stole his momentum and saw him in the clubhouse with a 67.
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