Steinberg: I've been his agent for 11 1/2 years. Every day is different. Tiger is an enormous piece of my business life. He affects just about everything that goes on in the game of golf, so there's a lot of focus and attention with Tiger and rightly so.
Darren: How many endorsement pitches are you getting weekly?
Steinberg: There's something we get everyday. Literally dozens and dozens every day, but they are important to people that are sending it, so wee need to take it seriously and pride ourselves on getting back to each one.
Darren: Plenty has been made of the idea of a "Tiger Tour." That seems to be real fantasy. But every time Tiger is in the hunt on Sunday there is to this day to this year double digit ratings increases (on TV). How have you explored or do you explore additional points of compensation beyond Tiger winning that event and the fact that he boosted purses over the years?
Steinberg: Never had one conversation about it. Tim Finchem and I or any of the other commissioners have never had a conversation about it. Tiger is on record as saying that he's not bigger than the game of golf. I don't think that's the right way to go.
Darren: David Falk, Michael Jordan's agent, kind of started the idea of a 10-year deals in terms of endorsements. You have done something unique in that you have brought the licensing model which is typical to the shoe and apparel industry and brought it to his recent Gatorade deal, where tiger gets a piece of the pie. How many other deals do you see that happening with in terms of that being a future model for you and Tiger?
Steinberg: I think it's hard to say right now. The world is kind of changing everyday, as we know it. A part of his Nike deal is licensing, a part of his EA Sports deal is licensing, part of his Upper Deck deal is licensing, Gatorade is strictly a licensing deal. Do I think we could engage in any further licensing only deals? I do. I could see that growing internationally in years to come but right now we're pretty content with our group of partners that we have right now.
Darren: A couple of years ago Tiger decided to get into golf course design like Jack Nicklaus, like Greg Norman -- the Dubai course, North Carolina and the one in Mexico. Dubai is delayed at least six months, that's just part of the economy and nothing with Tiger. But what is the potential with golf courses and whats the goal, is it 10 or is it 100?
Steinberg: Tiger is enjoying it. He always said he knew he'd get involved in theg olf course business at some point. But he always said he wanted to see as much as he could around the world prior to getting involved in that side of the business. Most importantly, Tiger needs to be involved with a fabulous piece of property, something that's going to represent him very well. So the business is growing to grow from three. But you're not going to be seeing three per year. Tiger is going to be hands on, he's going to be doing the way he does everything else in his life, so he's going to do it only in a way that he can balance
Darren: One metric is the four majors behind Jack. The other metric is the billon dollar man. Many in the media have said that Tiger is going to hit that somewhere in 2010. Where, if you could share with me, our we on that track or does Tiger care?
Steinberg: We don't even talk about it. Eighteen majors. That's what we talk about. The billion dollar athlete doesn't even register.
Darren: There's no tally? There's no word document?
Steinberg: I don't have a corkboard in my office ticking things off.
Darren: You might not know exactly where we are?
Steinberg: I don't know where we are. He's doing well.
Darren: Phil Mickleson said he mentioned to (PGA Tour commissioner) Tim Finchem the idea of, in order to make sure that the sponsors get their value and we can sell tickets better in these cities, committing earlier potentially instead of the required short period of a couple weeks. What are the pros and cons of that?
Steinberg: Certainly Phil hits on the pros there. Certainly letting the local marketplace know that certain players are going to be there, the stars are going to be there, it allows for ticket sales, it allows last minute hospitiality packages to be sold. The downside is a lot of players, they change their schedules, whether it's health reasons, it's injuries, fatigue and it's not right to the local communities, its not right to the 501C3's. It's not right to the people running the events. It's just not right for a player to commit, not be sure if he's going to play and then pull out. It's almost like you're pulling one over.
Darren: There was a point in time a couple of years ago where IMG decided the representation business in some sports was getting a little out of hand with players trying to get real cut rate percentages, with marketing gurantees, stuff like that. In golf and tennis, that has not been true. The company is as strong as ever. Why is that?
Steinberg: We made a corporate decision to get out of the representation on the team sports side -- basketball, baseball, football and hockey. Golf and tennis is not that way. Golf and tennis have been the backbone of our company. They are also individual sports versus team sports, and golf and tennis in particular are very focused on the marketing side of it our business. We're not negotiating deals with PGA tour, we're not negotiating deals with teams and leagues. It's much more of a marketing and endorsement type friendly atmosphere, which is kind of where we broke ground 50 some years ago."
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