Chubby Chandler tells Golf Digest’s Tim Rosaforte that he was given the pink slip from Rory McIlroy during a layover in a lounge at JFK Airport in New York after they got off a plane from the PGA Grand Slam in Bermuda — Rory was headed to Istanbul via London to visit with tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and Chubby was off to vacation in Dubai. Chubby also said he was “disappointed and a bit shocked” by the news:
“He said I’ve decided to move on,” Chandler said Friday, just hours after the news broke that the U.S. Open champion would be following in the footsteps of the previous U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, and join Horizon Sports, the management team run by Irishman Conor Ridge.
“Disappointed and a bit shocked,” Chandler said. “I thought we had a better relationship than that, but he had his reasons. He said he wanted to freshen things up a bit. It’s one of those things; he’s a 22-year-old with a very strong head who wants to make his own decisions, and one of his decisions was he didn’t want us to manage him any longer.”
Some seem to think that the airport lounge was not an appropriate place for the break-up, but when and where else was Rory going to tell Chubby? On their intimate trip exploring China? In between rounds in Bermuda? That would have been slightly awkward. Give McIlroy credit for breaking the news to Chubby in person. At least he didn’t do it over the phone or while they were in the air! It seems like Rory took the first opportunity he had alone with Chubby in the most appropriate setting possible.
McIlroy has yet to be reached, but provided a PR-y statement, which probably wasn’t written by him:
“I would like to sincerely thank Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler and his team for their guidance, representation, and management over the past four years, since turning pro.
“Chubby and his team have played a very important role in my success to date. I have made great progress under their management and for that I will always be grateful.
“I am now keen to move onto the next stage of my career and I feel this will be facilitated by a fresh view and a new structure around me. Therefore I am delighted to be joining Horizon and I look forward to working with my new team.”
Many find the Rory-Chubby split shocking, but it kinda makes sense. Graeme McDowell, one of Rory’s best friends (and definitely his closest one on Tour), likely had a significant part in the Horizon coup. G-Mac left Team Chubby before he won the 2010 U.S. Open because he didn’t feel like he was receiving adequate attention.
WUP, along with every other sports/golf publication in the world, has tried to contact Horizon and Rory, who are both likely fielding an overload of requests (or Rory just turned off his phone for WozzIlroy time).
RoryMcIlroy.com appears to be down. At this moment it’s unclear whether the server crashed due to the unusual flood of traffic or whatever.
Rory isn’t the first high-profile player who has left Chubby and ISM recently. Last month Ernie Els gave notice that he was switching to U.S. Amateur champions Vinnie Giles’ and Buddy Marucci’s start-up agency. That leaves Chubby with what’s still a respectable client list, including 2011 Masters champ Charl Schwartzel (who is rumored to be jumping ship, as well), 2011 Open champ Darren Clarke, 2010 Open champ Louis Oosthuizen and world No. 2 Lee Westwood.