Golfer Rory McIlroy said giving up his PGA Tour card in '10 was “another example of being involved" with ISM agent Chubby Chandler and of "maybe being led down the wrong path, or a path that I didn't want to go down," according to Lawrence Donegan of the GUARDIAN. McIlroy said, "It was something I sort of felt like I had to do. I think just spending a little bit of time around Chubby and Lee [Westwood] and hearing their view of the PGA Tour -- obviously they're very pro-European Tour -- while I've always been one who wanted to play on the PGA Tour." Asked on Tuesday if he had any response to McIlroy’s comments, Westwood said, "What path was that?" Donegan wrote McIlroy's private and business lives have "been transformed" with his switch from Chandler to Irish firm Horizon Sports and "inevitably such wholesale upheaval has wrought what might diplomatically be described as collateral damage, not least in McIlroy's relations with Chandler and the stable of players he left behind." Sources said that McIlroy had "become uncomfortable with Chandler's high profile in the media." His relationship with Westwood “has cooled,” and these days McIlroy “does not even follow his old pal and sparring partner on Twitter” (GUARDIAN, 4/4).
ON THE UPSWING: BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Thomas Black wrote golf in the U.S. is “growing for the first time in five years,” and the number of rounds played on American golf courses “has climbed for four straight months through February.” Nike Golf President Cindy Davis said, “It will probably be the strongest year since the recession. I’d say it’s definitely one of the indicators that maybe consumer confidence is coming back.” National Golf Foundation Senior VP/Membership Greg Nathan said, “The signs since the beginning of the year have been positive” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/4).