Golf Agent Brad Heaven Analyzes the Imminent Showdown at Augusta

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Brad Heaven, golf agent and founder of Heaven Global Management, contends a rivalry is evolving between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and believes Thursday's Masters tournament could be the place of its inception.

Brad Heaven was a four-time All-American golfer at the University of Toledo, played six years of professional golf on PGA Tours worldwide and now manages a stable of international golf stars at Heaven Global Management. With golf's greatest stage set to host the world's best players tomorrow at the Masters, Heaven provides his expert incite into this year's favorites and contends a new golf rivalry is developing between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.        

So far in 2012, the golfing world has witnessed fearless young players ascending the golfing ranks. Young guns Johnson Wagner, Kyle Stanley, Keegan Bradley, John Huh and Rory McIlroy have established their place among veterans at the top of the Fed Ex Cup point list. McIlroy ascended to world number one at twenty-two years old when he escaped Nicklaus’ bear trap unscathed and held off a charging Tiger at The Honda Classic. McIlroy’s fearless approach to golf after his meltdown at last year’s Masters not only earned him a spot at the top of the golfing world but won the admiration of fans everywhere. When Luke Donald conquered the field at Innisbrook two weeks later, he quietly reclaimed world number one and continued to humbly assert his position as the world’s best.

Then came Arnie’s tournament, Bay Hill Invitational. Tiger Woods sent shockwaves through the golfing world with a five stroke routing of the field and became the only golfer in history to win multiple events seven or more times in their career. Bay Hill may have given the golfing world some incite into a looming question of whether Tiger can reach Jack Nicklaus’ major championship record.

“I believe people were quick to blame Tiger’s slump on his off course indiscretions and didn't factor in the major swing overhaul he was going through at the same time,” says Brad Heaven. “His swing change implementation was always going to be a process, especially when you factor in his injuries,” Heaven continued. “Now, as he becomes more comfortable with the changes and is driving the ball straight for the first time in a decade, I see him surpassing the heights he reached under the tutelage of Hank Haney.”

Tiger's Sunday victory at Bay Hill captured a 4.8 rating and a 10 share on NBC, besting the NCAA Tournament ratings and showing an improved viewership by 129% from last year’s tournament. "It seems only fitting that the greatest golf rivalry in history, Nicklaus-Palmer, has a connection to the imminent rivalry between McIlroy and Woods," says Heaven. "Both McIlroy and Tiger are attempting to return to world number one and they will have to face one another to do it," Heaven added. A showdown of the masters is set at the world’s finest golf arena, Augusta National.

Like Nicklaus and Palmer before them, a generation separates Woods and McIlroy. Before Nicklaus had even turned professional, Palmer had won the PGA Tour money list multiple times. It then seems more fitting McIlroy won at Nicklaus’ PGA National and Tiger won at Arnie’s Bay Hill. While the showdown at The Masters this year has the potential to bring about the realization of this exciting rivalry, the list of talented, fearless young players hoping to thrust themselves into the sport’s greatest spotlight is longer than ever.

The new era of players becoming superstars super young is here to stay. This is good for a game that desperately needs growth from a younger audience. The reason, so says Heaven, is advancements in training and science.

“There is no doubt that players are working harder, smarter and starting younger in the modern era,” Heaven says. “They are highly trained both physically and mentally from a very young age which enables them to reach staggering heights at what was once considered extremely young.This is in no small way because of Tiger.”

The youth uprising is evident over the past three PGA Tour seasons as golf fans have watched potential stars become major championship contenders with TV needle-moving capacity. Now these young players look as poised as veterans with the exuberance, strength and fearlessness of youth. Consider last year, three out of the four major championship winners were twenty-six years old or younger and excelled under the oftentimes crippling pressure of the back nine on Sunday. While this trend is sure to continue, golf’s biggest needle mover remains Tiger Woods.

“Tiger will be back on top of the golfing world,” Heaven says. “ After his major breakthrough at Bay Hill, Tiger will win multiple times this year, with at least one major and regain his domination in the game.” Brad Heaven isn’t the only sports expert who expects Tiger to regain his form in 2012.

One of Rory McIlroy’s best friends Graeme McDowell stated before Tiger won at Bay Hill, “I think Tiger’s the favorite” at The Masters. McDowell continued, “his record at Augusta isn’t bad, is it?” With both McIlroy and Tiger coming off victories at their most recent tournament appearance, Heaven believes the stage is set for an epic battle at Augusta.

Heaven Global Management is an international sports management company based on Kiawah Island, SC with satellite offices all over the globe. Heaven Global Management is devoted to cultivating the world’s greatest athletic talents and strategically partnering with forward-thinking companies to further their goals. Please email company founder Brad Heaven at brad(at)heavenglobalmanagement(dot)com and follow the company on Twitter @hgmanagement1.

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