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Wednesday June 8, 2011

Woods cut ties with IMG but sticks with long-time agent

NEW YORK: Tiger Woods is severing ties with his long-time sports management company IMG but staying with his agent Mark Steinberg, the golfer said on Monday.

Woods, 35, has been with Cleveland-based IMG since he turned professional in 1996 and has had Steinberg as his agent for the last 12 years.

Steinberg did not renew his contract last week with IMG and is no longer with the sports management firm.

Woods cleared up his representational status with a Twitter message on Monday.

“Staying with Mark Steinberg. Total confidence in him. Excited about the next stage in my professional life. Fond memories of (late IMG founder) Mark McCormack,” Woods posted on the social networking site.

Having made that business decision, Woods must come to terms with his golfing plans as he strives to get himself physically ready to play at this month’s US Open.

Former world number one Woods withdrew last month from the Players Championship after just nine holes due to knee and Achilles tendon injuries.

Woods has been wearing an immobilizing boot on his ankle and hopes various therapies and treatments will allow him to compete in the US Open at Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland, from June 16-19.

The 14-time major winner, four titles shy of the record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus, tied for fourth at the Masters in April after a final-round charge but did not play again until his aborted effort at the Players Championship, where he shot 42 for nine holes.

Woods, who has been remodelling his swing, has struggled to regain his form since his stunning fall from grace in late 2009 with the unravelling of his marriage amid revelations of a string of infidelities.

The American has gone nearly 19 months without a victory and has dropped to 15th in the world rankings. — Reuters

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