McIlroy splits with Chubby Chandler

Rory McIlroy, the World No 3, has ended his association with Chubby Chandler and the ISM management company.

Rory McIlroy, the World No 3 and reigning US Open champion, has ended his association with Chubby Chandler and the ISM management company, it was announced on Friday.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman, had been with the company from the moment he turned professional in 2007 and was part of a high-profile stable that includes World No 2 Lee Westwood, current Open and Masters champions Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel and last year’s winner of the Old Claret Jug Louis Oosthuizen..

It may be significant that the split was announced two days after McIlroy competed against Clarke, Schwartzel and US PGA champion Keegan Bradley at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda earlier this week. Bradley won the event.

McIlroy, whose golf has lacked consistency in recent months, led by three with 12 holes to play, but he fell away to a disappointing 75 and to third place, three shots behind Schwartzel and four behind winner Bradley.

Chandler, who was in attendance in Bermuda, said in Thursday’s statement about his parting of the ways with McIlroy” “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.”

The statement also said: “It has been an honour representing Rory and we take great pride in the role ISM has played in guiding him successfully through his formative years as a professional golfer.

“Under our management he has grown into an international figure and he leaves us as a major champion.

“ISM prides itself on putting the athlete first.

“In golf this has enabled our players to achieve unprecedented success with Rory joining Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Darren Clarke as a major winner and Lee Westwood at the summit of the world rankings.

“ISM continues to go from strength to strength, its dedicated team of professionals providing our clients with world-class support across the globe. We look forward to even more success in the years ahead.”

McIlroy has yet to comment, either in person, in a statement or via his Twitter site.

He travelled to Bermuda from China and was heading back there for next week’s Shanghai Masters, which, although not on any Tour schedule, offers golf’s richest first prize of £1.25million.

Chandler has been with McIlroy since the Ulster young gun first joined the paid ranks after winning the silver medal as leading amateur in The Open at Carnoustie four years ago.

As an 18-year-old, he finished third in the Dunhill Links Championship in only his second start, then fourth next time out at the Madrid Masters, but he had to wait until the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic to claim his first professional victory.

Last season he broke through on the PGA Tour in America, winning the Quail Hollow Championship with a closing 62 two days before his 21st birthday, and then began The Open at St Andrews with a major record-equalling 63.

An 80 followed in windy conditions but, after third-place finishes there and at the USPGA Championship, he found himself centre stage again at The Masters this April.

Three brilliant opening rounds put him four clear of the elite field, but he then blew himself out of contention with an awful 80 and tumbled like a real-life Humpty Dumpty all the way back to 15th place and 10 strokes behind Schwartzel who came swooping in under the radar to win his first major with a magical 6-under 66 for the best final round by a winner in 22 years.

Many wondered how long McIlroy would carry the scars of that fiasco, but he bounced right back less than two months later to win the US Open at Congressional near Washington, where he broke record after record in winning by eight with a 16-under-par total.