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Can anyone stop the 'Chubby Slam' in Atlanta?

By Paul Gittings
  • Sports agent Andrew "Chubby" Chandler could achieve a unique feat
  • If one of his players wins the PGA Champs he will complete the grand slam of majors
  • Chandler manages Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel
  • He also has World No.2 Lee Westwood in his elite stable

(CNN) -- Apart from their incredible golfing ability, this year's major winners, Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, have another thing in common.

They are all managed by Andrew "Chubby" Chandler, who will achieve his own version of the grand slam if one of his elite stable of players lifts the Wanamaker Trophy at the PGA Championship in Atlanta Sunday.

Masters winner Schwartzel of South Africa and Northern Irish pair McIlroy and Clarke, who triumphed at the U.S.and British Opens, are all signed up to Chandler's International Sports Management (ISM).

McIlroy, who could double up after his eight-shot triumph at Congressional, is already looking ahead to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf later this year which brings together the four major winners.

I don't think you can call four major champions in the same year a coincidence
--Rory McIlroy

"It would be great," McIlroy said, "if ISM could take over Bermuda in October," he told gathered reporters Wednesday on the eve of the final major of the season.

"I don't think you can call four major champions in the same year a coincidence," McIlroy said.

"The whole ISM family, we're all very comfortable with each other. We've seen one another win majors, starting with Louis (Oosthuizen) last year and then Charl and myself, Darren. We probably motivate one another.

"If one of Chubby's guys were to win this week, it would be a great achievement for the company and personally for Chubby. I'm trying my best to complete the Chubby Slam, and I'm sure a lot of other guys are, as well."

As it is, Schwartzel, McIlroy and Clarke will spend quite a bit of time together over the first few days as they are paired together for the first two rounds in Atlanta.

Chandler, a 57-year-old from Bolton in north-west England, is clearly proud of the success of his players.

"It's an amazing ride we're on right now," Chandler told AFP.

"I don't think it's a coincidence. They spend a bit of time with each other and they're used to talking majors and preparing for majors."

It's an amazing ride we're on right now
--Andrew "Chubby" Chandler

Where once Tiger Woods' former handlers IMG (International Management Group) had the majority of the world's top golfers under their wing, it is now Chandler, who is calling the shots.

Aside from his 2011 winners, he also manages former world number one Lee Westwood, rated the best player never to have won a major, 2010 British Open champion Oosthuizen and veteran South African star Ernie Els.

It is clear that Chandler would like nothing more than to see Westwood, one of his first big-name clients, to join the list of major winners.

"It would be fantastic if Lee Westwood could complete the job for himself and us in Atlanta because nobody deserves a grand slam title more after coming so close so often," Chandler said.

Westwood has finished in the top three at six of the past 14 majors, including runner-up efforts at last year's Masters and British Open and thirds at the 2008 and 2011 US Opens, the 2009 British Open and the 2009 PGA.

"If I was a gambling man, I would have a substantial bet on Lee Westwood winning the PGA in Atlanta," Clarke said on the eve of the final major. "I'm very sure he will win majors and not just a major."

If I was a gambling man, I would have a substantial bet on Lee Westwood winning the PGA in Atlanta
--Darren Clarke

Chandler and Westwood, keen horse racing fans, will also be hoping for a double victory at the weekend.

A horse they jointly own, "On The Hoof" is running in at Ripon racecourse in Yorkshire Saturday.

This unprecedented level of success is a far cry from ISM's humble beginnings back in 1989.

Chandler had just retired after a 15-year career on the European Tour, where he was the classic journeyman, never managing a win with his best finish fourth place in the Italian Open.

Working in a small office at a local golf club, he relied on a bank overdraft to survive, but his "wheeling and dealing" success soon attracted the interest of better players.

Clarke, who paid particular tribute to Chandler in his victory speech at Royal St George's, signed with him from the amateur ranks in 1990 and the success of ISM grew steadily from that date.

He now successfully represents more than 30 professional golfers from across the globe including the UK, South Africa and India and they can't stop winning as England's Simon Dyson came out on top at the Irish Open in the last big tournament on the European Tour before the PGA Championship.

For all his success, Chandler is determined that the original ethos of ISM is not diluted.

"When I started the firm we were a small family with four players. We have grown but I don't want to lose the feeling of being a family. It is how the company has always been and still continues to work nicely," he wrote on ISM's official website.

Chandler's sporting influence does not end with golf as he has a clutch of young football players in his ranks and also manages former England cricketing superstar Andrew Flintoff.