McIlroy parts company with ISM
The most dramatic year in Rory McIlroy's young life took another twist on Friday when it was announced he was parting company with the International Sports Management stable that includes Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.
The 22-year-old US Open champion, currently the world number three, has decided to link up with Ryder Cup partner Graeme McDowell at Dublin-based Horizon.
"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," McIlroy said in a statement.
"Therefore I am delighted to be joining Horizon and I look forward to working with my new team. 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."
Chandler was with McIlroy in Bermuda this week for the Grand Slam of Golf, which also featured two more of his clients - Open champion Clarke and Masters winner Charl Schwartzel.
Having lost three-time major winner Ernie Els from the stable only a month ago, Chandler said: "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 company's statement added: "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."