Rory McIlroy in promotional material for Oakley, which was shot at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co Donegal.

Rory McIlroy in promotional material for Oakley, which was shot at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co Donegal.

In a delicious irony - or perhaps there is some subtle method (attractive only to conspiracy theorists) in all this madness - Rory McIlroy has claimed in a California court that he is being harassed by Oakley and is “relying on the credibility of his former agent” as the US apparel manufacturer continues to chase both him and Nike in the California courts. 

Writing in The Irish Times, Colm Keena reports on Oakley’s ongoing lawsuit against McIlroy (and Nike) for ditching them without, it claims, giving them the right of first refusal.

When the case first came to light last December, it appeared that it would be quickly resolved in McIlroy’s favour after his then-agent, Conor Ridge, produced an email exchange he’d had with a sports marketing executive at Oakley named Pat McIlvain. 

According to reports of the initial case last December 14, McIlvain sent an email to Ridge that said: “Understood. We are out of the mix. No contract for 2013. Pat Mac.”

Now it appears that McIlroy’s best defence against Oakley is the credibility of Ridge and Horizon, the people he has accused of tricking him into “an improvident and unconscionable bargain” and lack of “fiduciary duty of responsibility.”

At least, that’s the upshot of the latest from the California courts, where Oakley continues its pursuit of McIlroy and Nike.

According to The Irish Times:

“Oakley is seeking documents from Mr McIlroy linked to his relationship with Mr Ridge…

“Mr McIlroy, in response, has said the clothing firm is trying to “harass” him by seeking an overly broad range of documents and that it is engaged in a “sweeping fishing expedition”.

“In its submission, Oakley says that Mr Ridge, of Horizon, represented Mr McIlroy both in its dealings with Oakley and with Nike at the time when the Oakley agreement was coming to an end and the Nike agreement was being negotiated.

“Mr Ridge’s credibility is at the heart of this case,” according to the Oakley submission. “Last month, however, McIlroy terminated his contract with Ridge and Horizon and has since initiated a lawsuit in Ireland against Horizon accusing it and Ridge of ‘exploiting’ and ‘misleading’ Mr McIlroy and of breaching their fiduciary duties.”

“It says the documents it is seeking are relevant to the credibility and level of care of the individuals involved, ‘particularly in the light of the allegations of deception and exploitation at issue’ in the Dublin dispute.

“Oakley says that in the US case the golfer is relying on the credibility of Mr Ridge, while making accusations against him in the Dublin case.


“A ruling over whether Mr McIlroy should supply the documents requested will now be made by the district court of California.

“As a compromise, Mr McIlroy has offered to give documents showing his representation agreement with Horizon as well as the book of papers from the Irish court case. He has already supplied Oakley with documents outlining his dealings with Nike.”

Horizon plans to vigiously defend itself against all McIlroy’s accusations and submit a counterclaim to Commercial Court on November 26.

No doubt, they will be doubly determined to put their side of the story given the new wave of negative publicity generated by the latest Oakley hearings in California.