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Golf's Super Agent

Chubby Chandler’s clients include four major tournament winners and a solid cast of golf’s biggest stars
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Havana—The Insider's Guide, November/December 2011

(continued from page 3)

“I talked with Mike Vaughan and he said when players were under pressure they always looked straight down,” says Chandler. “He wanted them to look at the horizon, keep their eyes up, keep engaged.

“I said to Rory at Congressional, ‘keep your head up, engage the crowd, embrace it.’ And I think you could see the difference straight away as he walked to the first tee. It was head up all the way, looking at the crowd.”

And ultimately looking a long way back to the second place finisher.

“He told me to look back at that last day at the Masters,” says  McIlroy. “He asked me to look at my body language and look at how much, even on the front nine when I was still in the lead, how much I was looking down at my feet and down on the ground instead of keeping my eyes up and maybe about level with the crowd. It just gives you a more confident body language and your chest is out, even if it’s a subconscious thing. But it did; it definitely helped. I needed to believe a bit more and believe that I could do it.”

While Clarke’s career had been successful, he always had issues with his confidence, and then he took a serious blow when his wife Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and died in 2006. Suddenly his focus couldn’t be squarely on golf anymore, and Chandler’s focus couldn’t be just on marshalling his career.

“Things come along that no one can prepare for,” says Chandler. “Darren lost a good six years of his career during her illness and the grieving period. All you can do is be there for him, when he wanted to talk, wanted to cry. There were still things that had to been done for his career, but they were very much on the back burner. I just had to be a friend. It was all I could be.”

“He would get unbelievably down on himself. In September of 2009 he called me and he was definitely depressed about his whole situation. I said give me 24 hours and I will come up with a plan. I called him and said you should 50 percent make a move back to Northern Ireland [from his estate in Surrey near London], 50 percent make a move to Manchester near me and 0 percent stay where you are. Within two days he was making plans to move back to Ireland.”

That move back to his homeland, near his father Godfrey and mother Hettie, put Clarke on the road to recovery, of both his career and his life. He was introduced by McDowell to Alison Campbell, a former Miss Northern Ireland, and they are now engaged. It was Campbell on whom he planted a kiss after winning the British Open, and Chubby Chandler was nearby for the requisite hug and a pint of Guinness or two later.

“He has five more years of a career now,” says Chandler, referring to the five-year exemptions Clarke earned to the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship and entry into many more high profile tournaments.

Clarke carried on his celebrations overnight, but Chandler got back to the business of managing his players the next day, in particular the majorless but oft-contending Lee Westwood. Chandler was working on the “Chubby Slam.”

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