Ireland’s top golf writer Dermot Gilleece has claimed that Rory McIlroy’s decision to split with manager Chubby Chandler was inevitable.

Writing in the Sunday Independent, Gilleece stated that McIlroy’s relationship with Chandler’s ISM Group was "perhaps never anything more than a pragmatic business arrangement."

He also hinted that ISM’s fondness for a good time, as typified by their client Darren Clarke, may also have influenced McIlroy’s decision to move to the Dublin based Horizon management company.

It was Clarke who introduced a teenage McIlroy to Chandler four years ago but the 22-year-old will now work from the same stable as fellow Ulsterman and major winner Graeme McDowell.


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“The clean-cut youngster has been looking increasingly out of place in an organisation which seemed to thrive on a beer-swilling, big-spending image, as characterised by Clarke,” wrote Gilleece.

“One reason (for the split) being floated in golf circles was that the Manchester company had become a victim of its own success.

“Indeed the current issue of Golf Digest Ireland carries a front-page picture of Chandler, describing him as ‘Golf’s New Kingmaker.'

“A recent spate of such pieces, prompted McIlroy to describe Chandler as a celebrity manager.”

Dubliner Conor Ridge, the brains behind the Horizon group, remortgaged his house when he set-up the company in 2005.

He now handles McDowell as well as former Irish Open winner Shane Lowry and England’s Ryder Cup star Ross Fisher.

Many observers believe that McIlroy sought advice from his new girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, before he informed Chandler of his decision at JFK Airport on Thursday.

Respected commentator Gilleece believes the split with Chandler was always going to happen.

He wrote: “Though Chandler expressed his surprise at the suddenness of McIlroy’s decision, it has been on the cards for some time now.

“And we can take it that the deal with Horizon will be very similar to that enjoyed by McDowell, with the player having much greater control over key career details.”