Moore will rely on father, brother in negotiations
There is always a risk that the accomplished amateur golfer will be a bust. The mini-tours are littered with amateurs who came up with promise but flickered out.
But judging from the hordes of agents asking for face time with U.S. Amateur champ Ryan Moore, there aren't many doubters in the crowd.
Moore turns professional this week at the Barclays Classic. He has a trophy case that includes titles in the U.S. Amateur Championship, the NCAA Championship, the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He won awards as the best collegiate golfer in the country -- both the Hogan (all divisions) and the Nicklaus (Division I). He earned the Golfstat Cup for the lowest average score in all of Division I.
Ryan Moore stopped by ESPN2's Cold Pizza set on Tuesday. Among the items he talked about:
On timing of turning pro:
On advice from golfers on the PGA Tour:
On his goals for upcoming season:
His dream foursome
And he finished 13th at The Masters, where Phil Mickelson told reporters that if Moore were on tour, he'd be "one of the best ball-strikers."
Throughout the past year, all the major players in the golf business have been following the 22-year-old UNLV star -- the lucky ones arranging meetings through his father, Mike, or with the school's compliance director. All of them are looking to land Moore -- and they spent plenty of money doing on the hunt.
"He's the most high-profile guy we've ever had," said longtime UNLV golf coach Dwaine Knight, who sat in on some of the meetings with the agents. "And we've had Adam Scott, Chad Campbell and Chris Riley. There was interest in him worldwide. In the span of a couple days, they wrote feature stories on him in USA Today, the London Times and The New York Times."
But it's becoming more likely there will be no big winner in the sweepstakes to land one of the most coveted amateur golfers in history. That's because Moore is on course to become one of only a handful of golfers whose interests primarily are controlled by family members.
On Tuesday, Moore said that a final decision on his representation was not yet final but that his father -- whom he plans to keep as his swing coach -- and older brother Jeremy "will actively be involved at all times."
"I'm definitely keeping them around for now," he said. "I'm not kicking them out."
His father is a real estate developer and owner of Classic Golf Club in Spanaway, Wash. Jeremy, who is 26, studied business at Point Loma Nazarene University and has spent the past four years running a training facility in Seattle called Pacific Sportscenter. He oversees the specialty shop and is in charge of bookkeeping and payroll.
Ryan, who tied for 57th at the U.S. Open, said he found the agent wooing process to be educational.
"It has been very interesting to see all the different approaches and all the different people in that area, and I've actually really enjoyed the process of seeing what is out there and trying to find the best fit."
But Jeremy, who sat in on the meetings, said it was hard to differentiate one agency from another.
|“||I'm definitely keeping them [his father and brother] around for now. I'm not kicking them out. ”|
|— Ryan Moore|
"The agents, for the most part, all sounded the same," he said. "At the end of the day, it comes down to your best interest versus their best interests. There's no way Ryan would be comfortable with completely turning things over. Many agents came in and offered to be his best friend for a 20 percent cut."
Jeremy said he believes that his brother has already done most of the work an agent normally is hired for.
"Ryan has accomplished so much that it's taken a lot of the player-manager side of the agency out," he said. "He's a hot commodity right now, so he doesn't need someone to be on the phone for him day in and day out."
Moore has accepted one sponsor exemption (to next week's Western Open). The golf agent industry is taking a wait-and-see approach to his search for representation.
"It's self-serving to say what they are doing is a mistake," said Bud Martin, a golf agent for SFX, which represents more than 20 golfers, including John Daly, Rory Sabbatini and Rod Pampling. "They could be the smartest guys in the world. But there's an emotional attachment as a father and a brother that could hurt the professional relationship."
Some think a golf agent's job is an easier job than representing an athlete in a team sport because salary is determined by the player's winnings instead of the agent's contract negotiation skills.
Some say it's a harder job.
"The services to be performed by a top agency for an athlete in a team sport is a combination of what a team provides with the agent," said Phil de Picciotto, president of Octagon, which represents Davis Love III and Tom Kite, among others. "An individual athlete, on the other hand, is an independent contractor, which requires that the representative for that athlete have a much broader range of skills."
De Picciotto acknowledged that friends and family can provide comfort and stability. However, they don't always have the market knowledge that officials at a top agency often possess.
"If the market value isn't always maximized on certain [endorsement] deals, it could have a domino effect for the rest of the industry," he said.
Ryan Moore said Tuesday that he has not signed any endorsement deals yet.
Moore's brother Jeremy will be a hands-on manager, traveling with Ryan to the events, as well as playing an integral role in negotiating marketing relationships
A third-party agent is likely to be involved in an advisory capacity. Although representatives of Gaylord Sports Management, which represents many golfers -- including Mickelson -- were among those following Moore throughout the U.S. Open, the favorite might be Perry Rogers. Rogers, who represents Shaquille O'Neal and Andre Agassi, lives in Las Vegas.
Rogers did not have any comment on the possible relationship.
"An agent would up the value of some of the initial contracts, but that wouldn't be enough for what they want to be paid for it," Jeremy Moore said. "My brother made these contracts for himself, and it's not worth it to turn it over like that."
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org
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