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Chubby Chandler builds on his relationship with Australasian golf

Chandler with one of the many stars of his stable, Englishman Lee Westwood. (Photo: Getty Images)
The news overnight that one of the great characters amongst the golf management industry, Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler, has taken on yet another emerging Australian golfer further highlights the assistance the Englishman has provided for so many young Australians in recent years.

Dimi Papadatos, the reigning Victorian Open Champion and 2014 New Zealand Open winner, was signed by Chandler’s management company, ISM (International Sports Management), continuing a trend that began when Chandler took a punt on assisting talented Queenslander, Rika Batibasaga, who he plucked from obscurity to play events on the Euro Pro Tour and occasionally the Challenge Tour in 2012.

That initiative did not work as well as both parties had hoped but Chandler was keen to take more Australians under his wing and, over the next few years, his organisation signed New Zealand's Ryan Fox, Australians Daniel Popovic, Todd Sinnott, Antonio Murdaca, Ben Eccles, Jordan Zunic and now Papadatos. 

Chandler’s clout, in not only European golf but world golf, is a great carrot for young golfers looking to establish themselves in the hurly-burly early stages of a professional career. 

Over the years, Chandler’s guidance has proven significant in the development of players including Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett and Louis Oosthuizen.

New South Welshman Papadatos launched his career three years ago with his success at the New Zealand Open in Queenstown but it has been a struggle since - until recently that is.    

“I'm very happy to be a part of the ISM team,” 25-year-old said. “At this stage in my career, it is a step that will give me a great opportunity to improve my game and help me progress up the world rankings.”

Papadatos will aim to benefit from the significant leverage Chandler has on the European Challenge Tour, which the powerful hitter has no status on in 2017.

After struggling to perform with limited Challenge Tour status last year, Papadatos formed the conclusion that, if he wanted to build on his earlier success, he needed to work a lot harder than he had been.

It was a realisation that hit home and his improved form in the first few months of 2017 is a reflection of a new-found attitude to his craft.


Papadatos - now a member of the Chandler stable at ISM - with his recent Victorian Open trophy. 

It is not only players to whom Chandler has lent a helping hand. Gold Coast coach Kevin Healey first met the Brit when he was on the Sunshine Coast with Darren Clarke for the 2011 PGA Championship in Coolum.

Chandler and Clarke had taken a shine to the raw golfing talents of Rika Batibasaga and sought out Healey who was coaching Batibasaga at the time. The relationship formed then stands to this day and, now, Healey finds himself in the full employ of ISM.

Healey was then in the middle of a personal crisis as his wife Jillian was battling with the consequences of breast cancer to which she would finally succumb in 2016 after what had been a heroic battle.

Chandler felt that in order to access and build relationships with young golfers from Australasia, he needed someone ‘on site’ and he offered Healey a part-time position initially although, with the passing of Jillian, he extended that role to Head of Golf and Events for ISM in Australia and New Zealand.  

The increased local presence has enabled Healey to alert Chandler to several of the players now under the umbrella of ISM and the exponential growth in the numbers of Australasian golfers on the ISM books reflects positively on Chandler's decision and the people skills of Healey.

“Chubby was incredibly good to me when Jill deteriorated and I was forced to walk away from coaching golf to be her full-time carer,” said Healey.

“Within a month of doing that, he offered me a nice role with them and suggested that I ‘start things slowly and just when you can, no rush, let's just build on it,’ and it worked well in that I could work a lot from home and look after Jill and the kids.”

ISM pitched for the role in managing potential superstars Curtis Luck and Brett Coletta and was certainly in the mix before those players went with IMG and Wasserman respectively.

Clearly, however, the Manchester (UK)-based company is becoming a force in this region, more especially for those players who see Europe as a better means of getting their careers established than tackling the US, especially now the road to the PGA Tour is considerably longer than was the case previously.    




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