After 13 years, 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and agent Chubby Chandler are calling it quits.
Schwartzel, 29, made the decision sometime before the Northern Trust Open and broke the news after the third round to Chandler, CEO of International Sports Management.
“Just felt like a change,” Schwartzel said of the move. “It was nothing personal, nothing anyone did wrong.”
Chandler was surprised by the decision of a player whom he had mentored since Schwartzel’s days as a young amateur in South Africa but understood his desire to look at options.
“At the end of the day, whether it be right or wrong, some people are different,” Chandler said of the move. “Some people like the way we do things and they’re going to be there forever, but sometimes you need to just have a change, and sometimes the change might be us, and unfortunately this time it’s us. It’s not a coach; it’s not a caddie.”
Schwartzel’s financial adviser met with Chandler on Wednesday night before the Honda Classic and the remaining points of the separation were hammered out, leaving Schwartzel a prized free agent.
“I’ll just give it a bit of time,” said Schwartzel, the No. 16 player in the Official World Golf Ranking. “See exactly what other guys have got to offer and see what’s out there and how I feel about it. I come from a really good management company, and nothing anyone did or didn’t do. Sometimes in life you’ve got to maybe give yourself an opportunity to try something else.”
Chandler is well aware the word is out about Schwartzel and that the 12-year pro is being courted by many of the likely candidates.
“Obviously now everybody has heard, so everybody is all over him,” Chandler said.
The loss of Schwartzel is not the only defection from the Chandler camp. Stuart Cage, ISM’s head of golf, and Ian Garbutt, an ISM agent, also recently left the company.
Cage has taken a position at Octagon in Europe, and Garbutt is working for Callaway Europe.
Because of the changes in staffing, Chandler is going to take a more hands-on role with the company that he founded in 1989 after his professional golf career was over. He is not planning to replace the two staffers at this point.
“Suddenly I’m the man again,” Chandler said about his new role. “I know exactly what’s going on. I’ve got everybody reporting to me. I know what everybody’s deal is. I know what everybody’s relationship is, talking to all the guys in South Africa (site of the Tshwane Open) this week, and I’m right involved. I’m actually sad I’m here. I’d actually rather be in South Africa.”