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You'd pick him out of a lineup. At Doral last month Chandler was wearing a bluish-beige Egyptian cotton button-front shirt made for him at a Korean golf tournament; brown, checked wool trousers made for him at a Tour event in New Jersey; and black loafers he bought in a proper English shoe store. He's not a dandy. It's just that with his build, prêt-à-porter is not ideal. Plus, the custom-made clothes are a little reward to himself: I've done well.
With his prosperous waist, his sloping forehead, his bronzed skin and closely cropped graying beard, Chandler looks a sultan from the Ottoman Empire, and there are Turks in his ancestry. But he's a Briton to the bone and proud of it, and he's taking some heat for not persuading McIlroy and Westwood to play in the Players Championship next month. "It's the fifth MAY-ja only in America," Chandler counters.
Chandler has what's known in England as a Bolton accent, which turns major into MAY-ja and running shoes into TRAY-nors. As for the four real majors, Chandler wouldn't be surprised to see an American win only one of them. He'll have five players at the Masters: Els, McIlroy, Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. For part of the week Chandler will be on the course, following his players up and down the hills of Augusta National. For more of the week he'll park himself with his ISM cronies at a choice clubhouse table, looking for all the world like Tony Soprano hanging with his homeys.
In the clubhouse at Doral a few weeks ago Westwood and Chandler and a dozen others in the Chubby Chandler Circle of Fun watched Premiere League football for hours on end. (The week before Doral, at Honda, in the lobby at the PGA National Resort and Spa, they did the same thing. Ditto for the week before that, in the grill room at Dove Mountain at the Match Play Championship.)
Eventually the soccer ended and the horse racing came on. Some left, but Chandler and Westwood did not. Westwood mentioned several ponies by name and the jockeys slated to be on them. He sounded like a man who knows his way around a paddock. Chandler offered a correction. "He knows absolutely nothing about horse racing, and neither do I, but that doesn't stop us." At home they go to the track together once a year or so to bet the nags and enjoy lukewarm lagers and each other's company.
Last year at the British Open at St. Andrews, Chandler had a trifecta: Oosthuizen won, Westwood placed and McIlroy tied for show. Chandler was not yet representing Els when he won his most recent Grand Slam event, the '02 Open, so Oosthuizen's victory at the home of golf was the first time one of Chandler's players had won a MAY-ja. The winner and his agent and the rest of the traveling party celebrated at the Jigger Inn, a pitch shot from the 17th tee. Chandler had rented the ancient golfers pub for the week, and anybody on the extended team ISM—players, wives, girlfriends, caddies, "physios," parents, swing coaches—could eat and drink there all week without ever reaching for his or her wallet. To get in, you had to know the password, which changed daily.
"That was last night."
"Come on in."