A Conversation With Johan Elliot
Johan Elliot is the ‘Jerry Maguire’ of the golf world. In 2000, he started the Stockholm-based management agency Sportyard and now represents some of golf’s brightest talent. Here, the former pro player downplays his own abilities on the course and talks about why people obsess about the sport.
Where are you, and what are you doing?
At Arlanda airport on my way to Munich, Germany. I have a pretty intense travel schedule, spending about 250 days of the year on the road. It can be tough sometimes, but it’s such a privilege to do what I do, and to work with the athletes I work with. I wake up every morning wanting to get out of bed and start working.
What did you do last night?
Cleaned up after a birthday party for my oldest daughter.
What keeps you up at night?
What do you wish you knew?
What might be more interesting is that sometimes I wish I knew less…
Are you a man of routines?
Possibly. I’ve never really thought about it but yes, I think so.
How would you explain your job to someone who’s not connected to sports?
Nowadays, I explain it in a bit more detail, but before I just asked if they had seen the movie “Jerry Maguire.” That sort of explains it without having to say much. As the agent, I am the link between the sport and the business world. For me, it’s about being a diplomat and sitting somewhere between the athlete and business. For it to work, you need to ensure that everyone is as happy as possible. It should be a win-win situation for everyone.
Why do people get so obsessed with golf?
The feeling of that perfect impact with the ball.
How good of a player are you?
Good enough but not very good. It is all relative though, isn’t it? Compared with the people I work with, I am rubbish. The great thing about golf is that you don’t have to be great to enjoy it. I loved playing soccer as a kid, but I got injured and took up golf. Anyone can play – just not everyone can play well.
What's the drawback of ambition?
Some people might forget about what is important and what is not. My driving force is my belief that sport can contribute something good. I think everyone in some way can contribute to a better world, and this is my way of using my powers to hopefully make an improvement.
Do you have a long-term strategy or plan?
Yes. We want to continue doing the things that have made us successful, and improve on them. We have created a good energy among the players, and they have shared that with each other. And they’re all friends – it’s really thrilling to see how excited they are for each other’s success. That’s partly why we sometimes rent a house and live together for certain competitions. It’s a little unique for Sweden, choosing to stay in the group, but the guys think it’s fun.
Any plans for tonight?
I do believe I will end up having dinner with some friends in Munich.