Rory McIlroy split with Horizon Sports Management could trigger legal battle
Rory McIlroy's split from Horizon Sports Management could lead to the parties ending up in court with Horizon insisting that their contract with the 24-year-old has a number of years still to run.
McIlroy ended months of speculation by confirming the termination of his contract with Horizon Sports Management.
He has confirmed the establishment of a new management company, which will be called Rory McIlroy Incorporated.
In a statement issued by issued by the Communications Clinic’s Terry Prone yesterday, he said the details of the contract termination are “in the hands of a legal team led by A&L Goodbody” in Dublin.
McIlroy was in Dublin for the annoucement, which came through Twitter.
McIlroy had been with the Dublin-based management firm since leaving Chubby Chandler's International Sports Management in October 2011.
From now on, the 24-year-old’s business interests will be managed by Rory McIlroy Incorporated (RMI), the statement confirmed.
The CEO of RMI will be Donal Casey, an actuary by profession with many years of CEO experience.
The Rory Foundation for charity will be run by Barry Funston, a business leader and longtime friend of the McIlroy family.
Both men will serve on the RMI Board, together with Gerry McIlroy, the golfer’s father.
Media relations for the Co Down player and his management company will be handled by a team from The Communications Clinic, headed by Terry Prone, according to the statement.
The double Major winner is following in the footsteps of US Masters champion Adam Scott, who set up his own company headed by his father, Phil, with a small group around him.
The suggestion that McIlroy was to leave Horizon first came to light earlier this year, but the golfer declined to comment at the time.
His decision to join Horizon in 2011 – leaving International Sports Management just months after winning the US Open by eight shots – was in itself something of a surprise.
He had, however, a close relationship with Horizon’s Conor Ridge through his friendship with fellow golfer Graeme McDowell.
Horizon have this evening issued a statement expressing disappointment with the decision to end the contract even though it had a number of years to run.
Given McIlroy’s decision, the matter is “now regrettably in the hands of legal advisors,” they added.
“Since October 2011, Horizon has achieved exceptional results for Rory in realising his commercial objectives,” Horizon said. “Under Horizon’s management, Rory has signed some of the most lucrative endorsements in sports history.
“The current management contract has a number of years to run. Rory’s decision to seek a termination of the management contract with Horizon is now regrettably in the hands of legal advisors.”
Last year McIlroy won the US PGA by a record eight shots – one of five wins that propelled him into the No 1 golfer slot in the world.
His successes on the course were matched by major sponsorship deals off it, including a massive link up with Nike Golf.
However, the popular golfer has struggled to replicate last year’s form this year, and his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has increasingly come under the spotlight.