As expected, Stephen Ames has left IMG for Wasserman Media Group, the agency that launched in Canada when sports agent Chris Armstrong left IMG late in the summer. Former tour pro Ian Leggatt had joined the agency months previously, and the organization signed top Canadian amateur Nick Taylor, a deal that was announced in October.
But what was a bit unexpected was the departure of Vernon’s Chris Baryla, who plays on the PGA Tour, and LPGA star Morgan Pressel. All three golfers had been managed by Armstrong when he was at IMG, but the official word is that he won’t be dealing with them:
Accomplished golfers Stephen Ames and Morgan Pressel have signed representation deals with Wasserman Media Group. Ames’ and Pressel’s teams at Wasserman will be led by Arn Tellem, Principal of Wasserman’s Management division.
Apparently Leggatt will handle to the day-to-day on Ames, since it would be odd to have Tellem, who is based in LA, manage a Canadian athlete.
IMG Canada had no official comment on the news. In the sports marketing world, payment for deals signed by an agency reside with the agency who made them happen. That means unless there is a financial transaction, IMG would still be paid by, for example, Nike, which is endorsed by Ames. The optics of this look awkward since Armstrong surely has a non-compete, but it likely isn’t a big blow to IMG’s Canadian operations. Now if Wasserman inks a deal with the next Canadian upstart or poaches a rising star away from another agency, that would be another matter. IMG Canada’s golf division is left with faded LPGA star Lorie Kane, PGA Tour pro Mike Weir, and former Canadian amateur star Matt Hill.
Speaking of which, does anyone know who is representing PGA Tour rookie Matt McQuillan?
Update: Reader Dan writes about McQuillan: “Bernie Breen (Tragically Hip/PMP Sports) is repping Matt. Great kid and awesome story, someone needs to get on this.”