ATLANTA -- One of the most important cogs in Andrew (Chubby) Chandler building his sports-management empire was the signing of Ernie Els to International Sports Management in 2004. Five days ago, with hardly any news pickup, Chandler and Els released statements saying their business relationship had ended.
"It was just something that happens," Chandler said. "There's no hard feelings and I suspect we will have a few beers at the Dunhill (Cup). A change may do him and his game good."
On his website, Els positioned the move as a way to "consolidate" his management team and make it more convenient to his United States home in Jupiter, Fla.
(Els was with Chandler for seven years. Photo by Getty Images)
There is speculation that the Hall of Famer and three-time major champion could eventually end up working with Vinny Giles and Buddy Marucci when the former U.S. Walker Cup captains get their golf-management business fully operational in Jupiter.
Chandler's players won the first three legs of this year's grand slam and four of five majors going back to last year's British Open. His plan a year ago was to open an office in Florida at Old Palm GC in Palm Beach Gardens, but that fell through.
Both parties went high road with their exit strategies. Els was represented by the International Management Group and before that David Abell with the Nick Price Group. While proximity to his home at the Bears Club was a consideration, there is also a belief that ISM had grown to the point where Els wasn't getting enough day-to-day attention.
"I want to thank Chubby and all the ISM team for our time together and am proud to have been associated with one of the most talented stables in world golf, including my fellow major winners; Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke as well as current World No. 2 Lee Westwood," Els said in his statement. "I wish him and all the guys great continued success."
--* Tim Rosaforte