Rory McIlroy has struck first in the legal battle with Horizon Sports Management and lodged papers with the High Court in Dublin as part of a plenary action against the Dublin-based management company.
According to Sunday newspaper reports, the world No 6 terminated his contract with Horizon because he felt they were costing him too much money. The Sunday Independent claims that McIlroy paid Horizon $7.5m (€5m) during their 18 month relationship and walked away because he did not make business sense to continue with them.
According to the court documents the golfer’s contract with Horizon was not due to expire until 2017.
However, we understand from industry sources that the sums paid to Horizon were in-line with industry standards and the company set up by Conor Ridge will be vigorously defending its position.
The Independent.ie reported this afternoon that McIlroy has lodged papers in the High Court in Dublin “against Horizon, and two other named companies, Gurteen and Canavan Management….McIlroy is using firm A&L Goodbody according to court records.”
McIlroy joined Horizon in October 2011 and earned more than $15m in tournament winnings alone by the end of 2012, not including income from endorsement contracts.
In January, he signed a huge endorsement deal with Nike believed to be worth at least $20m a year as well as deals with Bose and Omega. He has also earned $1.8m on the PGA Tour in 2013.
The golfer announced last Friday that he had terminated his contract with Horizon and revealed that his “business interests will from now on be managed by Rory McIlroy Incorporated” and the “the details of the termination are in the hands of a legal team led by AL Goodbody in Dublin, Ireland.”
Conor Ridge was unavailable for comment having travelled to the US for Graeme McDowell’s wedding, which took place on Saturday.
However, a statement issued on Horizon’s website last Friday left no doubt as to their intentions.
“Since October 2011, Horizon has achieved exceptional results for Rory in realising his commercial objectives. 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. Horizon will be making no further comment.”