U.S. Open golf champion Rory McIlroy split with his agents at International Sports Management and joined Horizon Sports Management.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland, third in the Official World Golf Ranking, had been with ISM and manager Andrew “Chubby” Chandler since turning professional in 2007.
“Chubby and his team have played a very important role in my success to date,” McIlroy said in a statement. “I have made great progress under their management and for that I will always be grateful.”
ISM said in a statement it was an “honor” to represent McIlroy.
“We take great pride in the role ISM has played in guiding him successfully through his formative years as a professional golfer,” the company statement said. “Under our management he has grown into an international figure and he leaves us as a major champion.”
McIlroy joins friend and countryman Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, and their Ryder Cup teammate Ross Fisher of England at Horizon. McDowell joined the Dublin-based company after leaving ISM in 2007.
“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.
“Onward and upward,” Chandler said. “We have had quite a 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 split comes two days after McIlroy, Clarke, Schwartzel and U.S. PGA champion Keegan Bradley took part in the two-day Grand Slam of Golf, which matches the four major winners, in Bermuda. McIlroy was tied with Bradley after the first round but shot 75 to finish to finish third, four shots behind the American and three back of Schwartzel.
McIlroy has one victory and 11 top-10 finishes in 20 worldwide starts this year. He led the season’s first major at the Masters Tournament in April by four shots after three rounds but finished with an 8-over 80 to end 10 strokes back of Schwartzel.
He rebounded to win the U.S. Open in June by eight shots, setting 12 tournament records including his score of 16-under- par, the lowest in the event’s 111-year history. He then finished 25th and 64th at the year’s final two majors: the British Open and U.S. PGA Championship.
McIlroy, who has two second-place finishes and two thirds in his last four tournaments in Europe and Asia, is scheduled to play at next week’s Shanghai Masters in China, a non-Tour event that offers golf’s richest first prize of $2 million.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.