Tiger Woods' agent is 'unsung hero' of PGA Tour-LIV battle, says key golf figure

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee says Tiger Woods' agent Mark Steinberg is the unsung hero of the PGA Tour's battle with LIV Golf.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

Brandel Chamblee says Tiger Woods' agent Mark Steinberg is perhaps the 'unsung hero' of the PGA Tour's feud with LIV Golf.

Chamblee made the comments in an extraordinary Q&A with Golfweek's Adam Schupak.

The former PGA Tour player also tore into Phil Mickelson, suggesting Lefty has turned his back on the game of golf.

"I'm disappointed in him because he could have left the game in a better place," he said.

Chamblee was also asked who he believes is the unsung hero throughout the conflict in the men's game that began at the beginning of 2022. 

The Golf Channel analyst highlighted the role of Woods' long-time agent Steinberg.

"I don't know that he really gets his due," he said. "None of his players went."


Chamblee was referring to the likes of Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Justin Rose, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar.

All of the golfers are represented by Steinberg's agency Excel Sports Management.

It wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest each and every player has been approached by LIV

"He [Steinberg] fired Thomas Pieters," Chamblee said, referring the Belgian being ditched after he joined LIV for a reported $10m last February.

"I think some of the players in this that facilitated it, the ones who haven't gotten a share of derision are agents pushing their players towards these large payouts, of which they get 8, 10, 15 per cent, which who knows how much money they get, which is not in the best interest of the player but it's in their best interest. 

"So I think agents haven't gotten enough derision in this mix, but well-known within the golf community is just how greedy they have been pushing their players towards these deals.

"But to see agents fight and I think properly inform their players of how poor this decision is from a career standpoint, like Steinberg, I haven't run into Mark, I haven't seen him, but I would certainly thank him. That's one who certainly comes to mind.  

"Even though I wish the players had been more vocal out here, some of the leading players, dozens of them, were offered mind-blowing sums of money and turned it down.

"One of them was Will Zalatoris. I don't think he gets enough credit for what he did. 

"He was on the range injured, just beginning his career, wasn't sure that he was going to be able to continue, wasn't sure he was going to be able to work his way back from the back injury, gets a call, they offered him $100m. 

"He's on the range with one of his coaches, Josh Gregory. He says, 'I've got to take this call.' He turned them down. They then offered him $140m."

Will Zalatoris
Will Zalatoris

Chamblee continued: "He turned them down. I don’t think he gets enough credit for the character and the sort of, from an ethical standpoint, having his north star just bright as it could be."

Despite uncertainty reigning over the game, it appears we could be heading towards a resolution soon.

The aforementioned Woods, alongside the PGA Tour's player directors and commissioner Jay Monahan, recently met with the powerful Saudi businessman Yasir Al-Rumayyan in the Bahamas.

Al-Rumayyan is the chairman of the kingdom's PIF (which bankrolls LIV) and reports have suggested the meeting went well. 

Monahan claimed the talks were 'constructive' but those present have remained tight-lipped over exactly what was said.

Despite those reports, former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley reckons a resolution could still be years away.

"Don't hold your breath," he told RTE.

"I think both parties are still wide away from each other in terms of where the common ground is.

"There's a lot of resolve on the PGA Tour side to say, 'we're OK, we've got this investment in from the Strategic Sports Group, let's batten down the hatches and go'.

"And LIV are the same: 'If you're doing that, well we'll batten down the hatches too and we'll go."

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