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Masters bittersweet for Chubby Chandler

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – It will likely be a very bittersweet couple of weeks for Andrew “Chubby” Chandler.

The founder of International Sports Management is the hottest agent in golf, with Lee Westwood, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy among his stable of international stars (count Christina Kim as an American outpost in Chandler’s camp of myriad personalities.)

Sunday seemed like the day he would be able to call his youthful star a Masters champion. All seemed going well for Rory McIlroy until the 10th hole. Chandler was unaware of the triple bogey his man posted at the time, standing in back of the 18th hole while his clients went through their finish of the Masters.

First came Lee Westwood, clearly frustrated by his putting despite playing decently well over the course of four days. Not that there’s anything Chandler can do about it, but the Englishman is clearly peeved by his short game.

That was a mere precursor, though, to the unexpected champion to emerge. Chandler got closer to the green to see if South African Charl Schwartzel would indeed win the Masters.

After Schwartzel sank the final putt to complete a four birdie run to the title, Chandler was the first to greet him with a big hug. One can only imagine the kind of power and emotion behind the embrace – Schwartzel excited to have changed his life, Chandler an imposing man with a lot of pride.

While Schwartzel was signing his scorecard, Chandler had a quick line-up of hugs with Schwartzel’s family and friends. It was probably as great of a time as the birth of Schwartzel in the first place.

But then, the occasion sobered. Yes, Schwartzel had won, but Chandler’s man McIlroy was out on a lonely island still on the course. He was asked to speak with the BBC at that bittersweet moment.

“I’ve known Charl since he was 17,” Chandler said. “I knew he could win a major. More than one.”

But the subject changed. This Masters may be remembered as much for McIlroy as the winner. Chandler, though, had faith in his boy wonder.

“I’ve known Rory since he was 3 years old. He is far too good to not win one of these, many more.”

It was then that he rejoined Schwartzel as they went to Butler Cabin for the green jacket ceremony. That night, they would spend time together, certainly. But it would be a long plane ride for the team to Kuala Lumpur at 5pm on Monday. Part celebration, part sorrow.

And as Chandler said, “The first half will probably be sleeping, the second half probably drinking.”

 

Note: Ryan Ballengee is a writer for NBCSports.com, read more of his blogs at ProGolfTalk