Thomas Pieters, the newest member of LIV Golf, arrived at the Saudi-backed league’s first event of the 2023 season to unexpected news: he’d been dropped by his agent, Mark Steinberg.
Steinberg, who represented the Belgian professional for the majority of his career, has another relevant client in the golf space: a certain 15-time major champion and PGA Tour stalwart, Tiger Woods.
According to the Fire Pit Collective’s Alan Shipnuck, Pieters didn’t even find out about Steinberg’s decision from the agent himself.
“Weirdest thing ever,” Pieters told Shipnuck. “He’s just gone.”
Shipnuck then asked Pieters if Steinberg ditched him after taking a percentage of the hefty signing bonus the golfer likely received for joining the breakaway tour.
“No. If he did, I would have tweeted that myself,” Pieters joked.
Tour wars, cont’d: When Thomas Pieters arrived here in Mexico for his first LIV event he was informed that he had been dumped by his longtime agent Mark Steinberg, who had an underling deliver the news. “Weirdest thing ever,” Pieters told me. “He’s just gone.”
— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) February 24, 2023
Steinberg’s agency, Excel Sports Management, has steered clear of LIV completely. Woods, Steinberg’s most notable client, has been vocal about his opposition to the new tour since its emergence.
Other Excel clients include Justin Rose, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa, who all recently signed on to compete in Woods’s 2024 Monday night golf league, TGL.
Pieters’s jump to LIV perplexed many golf fans. The former European Ryder Cup team member was ranked 34th in the world at the time of his signing. Pieters won six times on the DP World Tour, and won the NCAA individual championship when he played for the University of Illinois.
This weekend, the Saudi-backed tour plays at El Camaleón Golf Course. Pieters joins Bubba Watson’s four-man team, which rebranded to become RangeGoats GC in 2023. He shot 76 in Friday’s round and starts the weekend tied for 43rd place.