Anyone who ever doubted that Rory McIlroy (right) is his own man knows differently now. In a move which stunned the world of golf, the prodigious young Ulsterman dropped his manager, Chubby Chandler, to join his compatriot Graeme McDowell at a smaller agency.
The US Open champion broke the news to Chandler, the founder and managing director of International Sports Management, immediately after this week's Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. To say Chandler was surprised is an understatement.
The suspicion must be that something – or somebody – has turned McIlroy's head. The Independent understands McIlroy believed Chandler had too many top names on his roster. They include the world No 2, Lee Westwood, the Open champion, Darren Clarke, and the South African major winners, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. McIlroy thought more could be made of his "brand", and hence increase his revenue supply.
Sources insist that, in this regard, the influence of Caroline Wozniacki should not be downplayed. The world No 1 tennis player has been McIlroy's girlfriend since he split with his childhood sweetheart, Holly Sweeney, following his record major breakthrough at Congressional in June. Since linking up with the Dane, McIlroy has completed a U-Turn in rejoining the PGA Tour and looking for a residence in Florida.