Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy: My court battle is a nasty process

By Kevin Garside

Rory McIlroy has described the multi-million pound legal dispute that will see him take the stand in a Dublin court next week as a nasty business.

The conflict with a former management company could keep him in the company of lawyers for six days before he is done.

The World No.1 from Co Down will then head to the United States to begin the countdown to the Masters in April, when he could become only the sixth golfer to win all four Majors.

"This is not something you want hanging over your head," McIlroy said ahead of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

"It's not something that I would want anyone to go through. It's a very sort of tedious and nasty process.

"Look, I'm going to be heading to the States regardless with it off my mind and not having to deal with it or think about it. That will be it.

"To be honest, I've been concentrating on this event and practising and that stuff's much more important to me than what's going to happen next week.

"After this tournament's over, I'll have to do my homework (prepare for court), but at the same time, I'm fully focused on this event and golf and to try to do the best I can this week."

McIlroy took legal action after claiming an agreement signed by him in 2011 was invalid and unenforceable.

Horizon Sport Management Ltd, Gurteen Ltd and Canovan Management Services deny his claims and have counter-claimed for damages.

McIlroy said Horizon charged commission "many times greater" than is standard in the sports agency industry and agreement was entered into when he was 22, with little business expertise and without the benefit of legal advice.

McIlroy, who signed two contracts with Horizon after leaving Chubby Chandler's ISM organisation in 2011, alleged he was coerced into signing an "unconscionable contract" stipulating "excessive commissions".

He said it was a shame the case had gone this far, "but it's hard when two sides see things completely differently".

He added: "The only way seems to be to get a judge to sort it out and tell us what to do."

McIlroy recently said he was not troubled by the prospect that he could lose £10m if he was defeated in court.

The Holywood man - who earned £7m in prize money last year and £20m in endorsements - is past worrying about the economic consequences of losing.

"I just have to get up and tell the truth," he said earlier this month.

Story so far

McIlroy was runner-up in the World Tour Championship in November, the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December and the Abu Dhabi Championship two weeks ago in his first start of the year. To win Dubai's $303,000 first prize, he will have to beat the likes of Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and two-time defending champion, Scot Stephen Gallacher.

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