Rory's agent a casualty of success?

Rory McIlroy (left) waits with former agent Chubby Chandler (centre) and caddie J.P. Fitzgerald on...

Rory McIlroy (left) waits with former agent Chubby Chandler (centre) and caddie J.P. Fitzgerald on the practice tees during the U.S. Open. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP)

IAN HUTCHINSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:51 PM ET

TORONTO - For a good part of the year, we heard a great deal about the Chubby Slam, but as agent Chubby Chandler's vintage 2011 season winds down, he is getting slammed in not-so-glorious fashion by a high-profile client who made this season so memorable.

U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy has signed on with Dublin-based management group Horizon after spending the first four years of his professional career with Chandler's International Sports Management agency.

McIlroy's win at Congressional was sandwiched by Charl Schwartzel's Masters victory and Darren Clarke's surprise British Open title.

All three were Chandler clients, rocketing him to new heights of profile before American Keegan Bradley ended the Chubby Slam with his win at the PGA Championship.

The announcement of McIlroy's departure was handled oh-so-graciously through press releases, with both sides playing nice, so anything said about this split is purely speculation.

The cold, hard reality of business is that the first casualties of success are usually the ones who helped get you there in the first place.

A week ago, renowned European mind coach Karl Morris talked here about the positive influence Chandler had on McIlroy and other players in a stable that includes many of Europe's top players, including former world No. 1 Lee Westwood.

McIlroy's departure could be chalked up to a tempestuous 22-year-old who told analyst Jay Townsend on Twitter to shut up earlier this year, calling him a failed golfer whose opinion means nothing after his criticism of McIlroy's caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald.

McIlroy also complained about the inclement weather at this year's British Open ... and he's from Northern Ireland! Shouldn't he be used to it?

On the other hand, McIlroy isn't the only high-profile client to leave the Chandler stable after Ernie Els exited in September after seven years, and there are rumours more defections could be coming.

In McIlroy's case, it was curious, and perhaps indicative of a growing rift with Chandler, when McIlroy flip-flopped on his decision to play mostly in Europe, not only saying he wanted to play the PGA Tour in 2012, but also put down roots in Florida.

Such a split is nothing new. Witness Tiger Woods' well-publicized departures from caddies Fluff Cowan and Stevie Williams and coaches Butch Harmon and Hank Haney.

Like those well-publicized partings, this one will also become a distant memory, but it will be interesting to see if Horizon is looking at its new client as merely a business acquisition, or will it offer personal guidance to a young man with enormous potential?

McIlroy, like Woods before him, has reached a point in his career where there is nothing but upside ahead, unless his actions, decisions and perhaps a feeling of entitlement dictate otherwise.

We all know from Woods' experience, that shouldn't be taken lightly.

CANADIAN SUPPORT

There is no concern on the part of the Canadian Tour about the new PGA Tour Latinoamerica, which will see 11 events played in seven countries across Latin America, beginning next fall.

Commissioner Rick Janes says he's seen it coming for 10 years through discussions with Henrique Lavie, his counterpart with the Tour de Las Americas.

The Canadian Tour is involved with events in March and April in Colombia and Mexico, but Janes points out that the new set-up could have considerable upside for players who toil here during the summer.

"We'll be lobbying for exemptions for our top players into this circuit," said Janes. "It probably creates a better opportunity for our players."

There is one concern, however.

"The suggested timing for the qualifying school is, perhaps, July or August when we're still in full swing. That's something that needs to be addressed," he said.

That aside, it's conceivable that a promising, developing player from any country will be able to move directly from the Canadian Tour to the new loop to extend the season.

"The idea of this is to spur on the development of golf in Latin America and one of the ways to do that, of course, is to give these young, developing players an opportunity to play at a higher level," he said.

"I would like to see our top players get a bye into these events. That's something to shoot for and that's what we're going to be lobbying for," said Janes.

THE LONE SURVIVOR

Of the six Canadians playing regularly on the PGA Tour, only David Hearn of Brantford retained full-time playing privileges through the money list.

Matt McQuillan of Kingston was 132nd on the money listing going into Disney last week, but failed to make the top 125 after missing the cut with a pair of 73s.

At the same time, a disastrous second half on the Nationwide Tour continued for Belleville's Jon Mills, who missed the cut in Jacksonville.

Since tying for second at the Melwood Prince George's County Open in June, a finish that put him in the top 25 on the money list who graduate to the PGA Tour, Mills has missed 11 cuts in 14 events.

He had missed only one cut before that and was 66th on the money list going into Jacksonville. Only the top 60 make it into this week's season finale at the Nationwide Tour Championship.


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