Rory McIlroy is taking a break from tournament golf to focus on his legal situation with Horizon Sports Management, his former management company, according to the Irish Independent.
"I'm going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management," McIlroy said. "The court-directed mediation process failed over the weekend to resolve the issue."
McIlroy was with Horizon for two years before leaving in May 2013 to start a new management company. In his lawsuit, he claims Horizon took advantage of his youth and lack of legal advice in his first agreement, according to a report Forbes published when McIlroy sued Horizon in 2013.
The agreed upon commissions entitled Horizon Sports Management to a 20% fee on all off-the-course income received by McIlroy. The golfer claims that the excessive commissions result in an unconscionable contract, and that an athlete of McIlroy’s stature should not have to pay more than 7% to an agent as a result of earnings from endorsement deals. He alleges that he was young, naive and failed to have the support of legal counsel when he executed the agreement containing such a compensation structure. Horizon is countering by suing for a reported $3 million for a breach of contract.
Meditation talks failed to create an agreement between McIlroy and Horizon, and the case will have a February 2015 court date, according to the report.
McIlroy will now skip the European Tour's BMW Masters at the end of October and the PGA Tour's WGC-HSBC Champions the second week of November. (Last year, he finished tied for 24th and sixth, respectively, in those events.)
He's expected to return for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the final event of the Euro Tour's 'Race to Dubai,' on Nov.20.
The February court date could affect McIlroy's tournament schedule for next year as well. He's expected to play the Euro Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January. McIlroy skipped the entire "West Coast Swing" of the PGA Tour schedule last year and started his year at the Honda Classic near his home in Jupiter, Fla. This year, the Honda Classic begins on Feb. 26, less than two months before McIlroy will attempt to complete the career grand slam at the Masters.