Editor’s note: Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
By Brian Keogh
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
RORY MCILROY’S NEW MANAGEMENT TEAM has starting transforming his world. And Dublin based Horizon Sports is making sure it doesn’t make the same mistake as Chubby Chandler by hogging the limelight and becoming “celebrity” managers. Silence is now the new rule when it comes to handling the world No 3 and allowing him to let his clubs do the talking.
Breaking a three-day news blackout since landing the hottest property in the game, McIlroy’s new manager Conor Ridge apologised for his recent silence, explaining: “We have no comment to make on anything. Hope you understand.”
Ridge jetted off to China yesterday for the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters where McIlroy will be the centre of attention after announcing his shock sacking of the ISM organisation last Friday. The Holywood star, 22, stunned Chandler by walking out after four years together. According to Bolton man Chandler, the Irish star was unhappy with his brand, his website, his public image and his sponsorship portfolio. And he also believes that McIlroy was irritated by talk of the Chubby Slam at the US PGA last August. McIlroy described his larger-than-life, former agent as a “celebrity manager.”
But Horizon has been low profile in their handling of McIlroy’s pal Graeme McDowell since 2007. They have already made changes to McIlroy’s image by launching a slick preview of his new website featuring a portrait by top photographer Kevin Abosch, best known here for his Faces of Ireland campaign.
Organising a coherent 2012 schedule and steering the sometimes impetuous US Open champion away from controversy wiil be top of Horizon’s list of objectives. This reporter does not expect to be asked to “play the game” ever again when it comes to questions.
The US Open champion has tweeted just twice since he announced his split with ISM. Apart from congratulating Luke Donald on winning the US money list, he posted a pic of an early morning tennis session for new love Caroline Wozniacki in Istanbul. Before jetting out to Shanghai, McIlroy politely refused to talk about his split with Chandler and prepared to move on with his career.
It appears that a new era has begun.
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.
(Photo credit: Titleist.com)