Donald leaves IMG for new management company

Luke Donald not only has a new swing guru but also has switched management companies.

Donald, who was No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings for a total of 56 weeks in 2011-12, has left IMG, formerly known as International Management Group, and signed with Lagardere, according to a report by Sports Management Daily.

The Englishman will play for the first time this season this week in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Steve Loy, who represents Phil Mickelson, will be Donald’s personal agent. Luke has been working with swing coach Chuck Cook, who also tutors PGA champion Jason Dufner, since last August.

Lagardere has a stable of 45 PGA Tour golfers, easily the most of any agency, after acquiring Crown Sports Management and its stable of 25 players, including Brandt Snedeker and Davis Love III, in October.

“In terms of global capabilities and global assets in golf, we have more than any other agency,” Andy Pierce, president and CEO of Lagardere Unlimited’s North American business, said last week. “And that is by design, not default.”

In addition, the company hired agent Jay Danzi, who represents Jordan Spieth, and also has signed Jamie Lovemark and Ricky Barnes.

In 2012, Lagardere acquired Gaylord Sports Management, which represents Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Nick Watney, among others among others.

IMG was the first major golf management company, founded in 1960 by Mark McCormack, whose first client was Arnold Palmer.

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