Belfast Telegraph

Judge tells Rory McIlroy's legal team to try and find compromise

By Ray Managh

World number one golfer Rory McIlroy and his former management company, Horizon Sports Management, have been ordered by a judge to engage in peace talks over the next four weeks.

Mr McIlroy's legal battle with Horizon also involves the affairs of his Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell.

The Co Down golfer has claimed he got markedly inferior representation terms compared to McDowell, despite alleged representations that he would get similar terms. At Dublin's High Court, Mr Justice Brian McGovern said it involved such sensitive matters that the sides should engage in mediation.

Mr McIlroy and Mr McDowell are with the European team at Gleneagles in Scotland, where they await the arrival of the US team to do battle for the Ryder Cup.

Barrister Rossa Fanning, counsel for McIlroy, said Mr McIlroy had no issue with McDowell, but undoubtedly in the run-up to the competition, which begins on September 23, Mr McIlroy will have to consult with his legal team about the new developments.

During an application for discovery of a new tranche of documents, many relating to Mr McDowell's contractual relationship with Horizon, the judge said some issues were so sensitive as to make the case highly suitable for mediation. The court granted limited discovery of documents.

Judge McGovern told lawyers for both sides that the court had the power to stay the proceedings for not more than 28 days to allow consideration of mediation or arbitration to take place. He said he would not bar progress of the case, which is due to be heard on February 3, but would direct that the parties engage in mediation over the next 28 days.

"The case has all sorts of sensitivities involving two players on tour, a manager of one of them and a former manager or agent of the other. It has all sorts of complex issues involving relationship matters," the judge said. "It seems to me to be a case made for the mediation process."

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