Golf spotlight

IMG will run Honda Classic

 

Special to The Miami Herald

There’s a shake-up coming at the Honda Classic — in a good way.

IMG Worldwide, a widely recognized global sports, media and fashion company, is moving into Palm Beach and taking over management of the Honda Classic.

IMG seems intent on making Palm Beach one of the focal points of its operations as more and more professional golfers flock to the area.

Despite some changes, there will remain some consistency in the people running the Honda.

IMG is getting Ken Kennerly, executive director of the event the past eight years, as part of the package.

It’s Kennerly’s IGP Sports & Entertainment Group, which had been overseeing the management of the Honda, that IMG is absorbing.

“IMG has had great respect over the years for Ken Kennerly and the business he built,” said Guy Kinnings, senior vice president and global head of IMG Golf.

With the changing of the overseeing companies for the Honda, Kennerly will be in charge of IMG Golf’s North American events division.

In addition, IMG will open a new golf office in North Palm Beach. Also, much of Kennerly’s staff that ran the Honda will remain.

Kennerly said, “Anyone who works in the sports management and marketing business recognizes that IMG was the founder of this industry.”

Just recently, Kennerly and his team were honored by the Palm Beach County Hall of Fame as its Sports Contributor of the Year.

IMG employs more than 3,000 individuals and has been in the sports marketing business for 50 years.

Kennerly is generally given credit for boosting the Honda’s status from “just another golf tournament” to one of the up-and-coming PGA events. Part of that increasing stature came with the Honda field getting stronger almost every year under his guidance.

That includes getting Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 golfers, to play in the event the past two years.

FIU leads

The FIU women’s team is leading the Sun Belt Conference tournament by four strokes over Middle Tennessee and could win its first conference title Wednesday.

The tournament is being played at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Muscle Shoals, Ala.

FIU shot a 1-under-par 287 in the second round to push its 36-hole total to 9-over 585.

FIU freshman Meghan MacLaren (Britain), who shot a 4-under 68 in Tuesday’s second round, remained atop the leaderboard at 5-under. MacLaren is three strokes ahead of Middle Tennessee’s Olivia Love. MacLaren’s 68 was the lowest round of the tournament.

Fellow FIU freshman Sophie Godley (Britain) made a huge surge, going from 36th to a tie for fourth by shooting a 69 Tuesday. The tournament concludes Wednesday.

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