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McIlroy parts company with Chandler and ISM

ESPN staff
October 21, 2011

US Open champion Rory McIlroy has left long-time agent Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler to join compatriot Graeme McDowell at Irish agency Horizon Sports Management.

The Northern Irishman has been a part of Chandler's International Sports Management stable since he turned professional in 2007, with ISM helping guide him through a successful transition into the paid ranks that culminated in his first major title with victory at Congressional in June.

The Northern Irishman has had a busy schedule in recent weeks, playing in the inaugural seven-day China Challenge before flying to Bermuda for this week's Grand Slam of Golf - won by US PGA champion Keegan Bradley.

"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," McIlroy said.

"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."

McIlroy's win was one of three major triumphs in 2011 for ISM and Chandler, as fellow clients Charl Schwartzel and Darren Clarke won The Masters and Open Championship respectively, but this latest news sees the year end on something of a sour note for the powerful agent.

"Onward and upwards. We have had a quite brilliant year," Chandler said in a statement. "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.

"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 ... 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."

In an added twist, McDowell is one of only two high profile golfers (along with Ernie Els) to have left ISM - departing in 2007 before winning the US Open himself three years later.

"He was the one that got away; we weren't giving him the attention he needed. That's a lesson I learnt; we won't be making that mistake again," Chandler recalled of his departure, earlier this year. "Listen, we've had one person leave us like that in however many years and fair play to Graeme there's no bad blood, we remain good friends and I was dead chuffed for him."

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