Rory McIlroy couldn’t believe the massive reaction to his recent split with now former agent Chubby Chandler and ISM. It’s not uncommon for players and managers to break up and usually no one notices. But since the 22-year-old won the U.S. Open by a decisive eight strokes and due to Chubby’s high profile, it was big news. (After all, in the new world order Rory breaking a nail might make headlines.)
Last week at the Shanghai Masters, McIlroy made it clear he would only answer questions related to his round. At this week’s HSBC Champions, also held in Shanghai, he spoke at length for the first time (but still didn’t reveal much in regard to details).
McIlroy called the breakup with Chubby “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life,” according to the AP’s Doug Ferguson. “It’s the toughest conversation to sit down with a person who’s been there for you the last 10 years and tell him you want to change things up a little bit,” McIlroy said.
What prompted the change?
Those searching for answers didn’t get many from McIlroy on the eve of the HSBC Champions. He repeated that he was interested in a “fresh view on things.”
“All I want to do is concentrate on golf and win golf tournaments,” McIlroy said. “I feel up to this point, I haven’t won enough. I feel I needed to make a few decisions to change that.”
He insists this decision was not made overnight, though he couldn’t say how long he had been thinking about such a big change. It helped that he has known Conor Ridge, who runs Horizon, for many years and was impressed with how he handled McDowell.
Naturally, gotta fit in that Tiger comparison:
The timing was reminiscent of when Tiger Woods switched agents from Hughes Norton, who negotiated blockbuster deals for Woods when he turned pro, to Mark Steinberg after two years.
I’m sensing a theme…I think Rory wanted a fresh start and to win more.
“Sometimes to go forward in your career, you need to make a decision,” McIlroy said. “I thought it was a decision I needed to make. I felt like for four years, Chubby was the best guy. But sometimes to progress you need to have a different view and a fresh view of things. It’s about me trying to play my best golf. That’s all there is to it.
“With a new environment around me, it might enable me to play even better.”
It’s not a stretch to interpret that McIlroy didn’t like his old environment, where his relationship with Lee Westwood appeared to have become increasingly tense, though all parties insisted they were pals bantering. Still, of course the intrigued public wants to know what it was like behind the scenes. (Handbags?!)
Oh, and by the way, the suggestions that girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki had something to do with it, along with the “Yoko Ono” references, are completely absurd. I mean, really?
I’ve only had positive dealings with the guys at Horizon, and from my tiny perspective, it seems like it’s a good fit for Rory.
Alright, on to the golf — besides, what’s the big deal?
(AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)