Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

McIlroy plays down rift talk

Rory McIlroy is focused on making an impact at the BMW PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy is unable to clarify reports that he is leaving Horizon Sports Management to create his own management group, but revealed he has cleared the air with Graeme McDowell.

McIlroy denied speculation at the Players Championship that he would create his own team with his father, close friends and associates, but McDowell said during the World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria that the world number two had decided on his second management change since October 2011.

The 24-year-old left International Sports Management just four months after winning his first major by eight shots in the US Open at Congressional, joining his good friend McDowell at Horizon. McIlroy told a press conference ahead of the BMW PGA Championship: "I'm here to try and stay on point and talk about golf. I can't really comment on speculation at this point."

He added: "Obviously you guys know that something's up. That's fair enough. But at this point I can't really say much more."

Asked about his apparent annoyance with McDowell - "Ask G-Mac. He knows more than me" he said to reporters on Tuesday - McIlroy added: "I spoke to Graeme yesterday afternoon. We got back to the hotel and we just had a chat. Everything's good.

"I'm great friends with Graeme. He's been a real big brother to me on Tour. I remember playing practise rounds with him at the Dunhill Links, for example, back in 2007 when I got my card.

"He really showed me the ropes out here for a couple years and it's great to have good friends on Tour and he's obviously somebody that I consider a very good friend."

McIlroy was less forthcoming when pressed to explain a comment he made in an interview with Sky Sports, when he was asked if he had been frustrated by the speculation and replied: "No, not at all. Someone very smart said to me a couple of weeks ago, if you want to be in the circus, you have to put up with the clowns."

Pushed to explain who he was referring to, McIlroy said: "I thought it was quite a good comment. Just think about it."

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