Int'l Sports Management on Friday announced that golfer Rory McIlroy has "ended his association" with the firm and agent Chubby Chandler, according to Mark Garrod of the London INDEPENDENT. McIlroy had been with the company “from the time he turned professional in 2007.” Chandler in a statement said, "Onward and upwards. We have had a quite brilliant year. The company is growing and adapting to ensure it stays at the forefront of golf and the business of managing players. We wish Rory every success." McIlroy had “yet to comment either in person, in a statement or via his Twitter site.” Chandler has been “at McIlroy's side since he joined the paid ranks after winning the silver medal as leading amateur in The Open at Carnoustie four years ago.” Chandler’s current clients include Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Charl Schwartzel and Ernie Els (London INDEPENDENT, 10/21). McIlroy reportedly will join Horizon Sports Management, "whose stable includes Graeme McDowell" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/21).
STUNNING MOVE: Author John Feinstein said it was a "stunning move" for McIlroy to leave ISM and Chubby Chandler, who "he’s known since he was a kid and been close to for years." Feinstein: "Graeme McDowell is a close friend, fellow Northern Irishman -- that might have had something to do with it, but it’s still pretty stunning.” Feinstein: “All my instinct can tell me is that Rory McIlroy is at a point in his career where he feels he needs more personal attention. … All I can think is that McIlroy is saying, ‘If I move to a guy that’s got Graeme McDowell, certainly, but doesn’t have as many big names, as many irons in the fire as Chubby Chandler, maybe I get more personal attention.’ That’s always a big deal with players.” Golf Channel’s Jason Sobel said, “I wonder if he was put off a little bit by the ISM sort of Euro-centric attitude which is, look the European Tour comes first, Europe comes first and the U.S. Tour comes after that.” Golf Channel's Erik Kuselias: “It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out, if Chubby starts adding people or losing people from the Chubby stable” ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 10/21).