You Did What, Chubby?
By Conor Nagle under European PGA Tour

Chandler with one of his prize ponies, Ernie Els.

There’s an interesting story in today’s Guardian about Andrew “Chubby” Chandler, International Sports Management’s (ISM) benevolent patriarch. As manager of a handful of the world’s top players, including the last three major champions, he’s on course to complete an historic “Chubby Slam”– an agent’s clean sweep of the majors– at Atlanta Athletic Club next week.

Though an interesting fact in itself, it’s not quite as interesting as the financial circumstances of his recent business bonanza. It turns out Chubby sold his controlling share in ISM the day before Louis Oosthuizen cantered to the company’s first major championship.

Asked if he lived with a sense of regret about the decision– one which, in the context of Rory McIlroy’s sudden emergence as a major-winning superstar, looks like it deserves to be classed as dreadfully unlucky, if not downright tragic– the agent took a balanced view:

“I don’t live my life [regretting things]. I’m not a person that looks backwards. Maybe this run started because of that [deal]. If I lived my life wondering what would have happened and about ‘what ifs’ then I wouldn’t get very far. The life I lead is very much a precarious one. There’s nothing to say that five of these guys won’t lose form. You tend to look forward not back. I’m not very grown up about a lot of things, but I’m very grown up about that.”

Chubby’s right of course. Casting one’s prior business ventures as failures in light of subsequent successes isn’t just unwise in psychological terms, but logically unsound. It’s like telling yourself that missing birdie putts on three consecutive holes denied you a hat-trick of birdies. As golfers, of all people, should know: cause-and-effect just doesn’t work that way.

Viewed in another light, the deal helped the agent dodge a number of bullet:

“What had never been unearthed was that the proceeds of the sale went to settle a loan that Chandler had taken out from the company, which had stood as high as £2.6m during the previous financial year, while also funding the agent’s divorce.”

Debt free and still able to take a share of Rory McIlroy’s endorsement contracts? I wouldn’t mind being so unlucky.

Conor Nagle