In a sensational mid-season move, Rory McIlroy is planning to leave Horizon Sports and set up his own management company, made up of some friends, family and close confidants.
The Ulsterman’s father Gerry is expected to play a prominent role in the new operation.
Just over 18 months ago, McIlroy, one of world sport's hottest properties, stunned golf by quitting the giant International Sports Management, run by Chubby Chandler, and joining Horizon, a Dublin firm with global ambitions.
McIlroy's management team at Horizon have been taken aback by this latest development in the ever-eventful career of Irish golf's charismatic world No 2. However, they are remaining tight-lipped pending further discussions with McIlroy, whose management contract at Horizon has a number of years to run.
Professional golf circles have been rife with speculation about McIlroy's plans to set up his own management structure, but Horizon boss Conor Ridge declined to comment on the matter or answer any questions.
“We simply do not comment on industry rumours or speculation,” he insisted. “Horizon Sports Management always has and always will give first priority to the confidentiality of its clients.”
When approached by reporters at The Players Championship in Florida last week, McIlroy said he was still with Horizon and firmly dismissed any further questions on the matter. He could not be contacted yesterday.