It was all over pretty quickly with Rory McIlroy in court for less time that it takes to play a par 3. Here's our synopsis from start to finish
Things may be going swimmingly for Rory on the course right now as he enjoys a spell of Tiger-like dominance with four victories and three 2nd place finishes in his last seven starts, but off the course things have been getting decidedly messy with the protracted wranglings of his acrimonious separation from Horizon Sports Management ultimately landing the world number one in a Dublin High Court today.
Many of the facts and figures surrounding Rory’s court case are a matter of speculation and uncertainty, but here’s what we do know about the chain of events that has led to Rory McIlroy in court this week…
The then 22-year-old Rory parts company with Chubby Chandler’s ISM management group who had managed his affairs since he was 18.
Rory signs a contract to join fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell in Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management’s growing stable of players.
Following weeks of rumour, Rory parts company with Titleist and signs a five-year deal with Nike purported to be worth anything from $100 million to $200 million depending what paper you read, with the news finally announced in a blaze of publicity at the season-opening Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Rory misses the cut in Abu Dhabi with his new gear, and endures a torrid few months on the course even walking off before completing his second round in the Honda Classic as defending champion, citing toothache as the reason. Many fear the curse of the big-money club switch!
Rory signs a new deal with Horizon extending their partnership to 2017. The new deal sees Horizon getting 15-20% commission on his off-course deals, but nothing from his on-course earnings.
May to September 2013
Things turn sour with Horizon, and Rory announces a split from his management company to look after his own affairs going forwards via the newly formed Rory McIlroy Inc, with father Gerry on the board.
Rory initiates proceedings against Horizon stating that as a young and naive professional he had been coerced into signing an “unconscionable contract” paying “excessive commissions” to Horizon. Horizon counter-sues for loss of commission and future commissions up to 2017, with the figure already running into many millions of pounds.
Attempts at last-ditch mediation, compromise or an out-of-course settlement in October fail, paving the way for things to be played out in the public eye via perhaps the most high-profile court case ever between a golfer and his management company.
Tuesday Feb 3rd, 2015
The dispute finally reaches the High Court in Dublin with Mr Justice Brian McGregan presiding. Rory is unlikely to play again until the Honda Classic, where, ironically, the first hints of this whole sorry mess surfaced two years ago. Some consolation for Rory will be that in his last seven tournaments he has pocketed €5,103,798 with Horizon not entitled to a penny of that money whichever way the judge rules!
Rory was in court for under a minute on the first morning before the case was deferred with an adjournment until 2pm, leading to speculation that an agreement may have been reached after all, which could put an early end to a case expected to last eight weeks. All will no doubt be revealed soon.
LATEST: hearing adjourned till Weds Feb 4th. We wait with bated breath…
FINAL OUTCOME: settlement is reached “to the satisfaction of both parties” leaving Rory in the clear at least physically, if perhaps not mentally just yet, to focus on his golf and the Masters. No further comment will be forthcoming, but speculation suggests a figure in excess of $20 million. Rory had better keep playing well the rest of the year!