Rory McIlroy, Horizon Sports Management Could be on Verge of Settlement

February 3, 2015

Rory McIlroy’s high-profile court case against his former management company lasted 42 seconds Tuesday morning before being adjourned to Wednesday. That led many observers to believe the two sides are working on a settlement to avoid a courtroom battle.

The world’s top-ranked golfer is suing Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management and its leading agent, Conor Ridge, claiming McIlroy was misled into signing a contract with the company. McIlroy and his lawyers negotiated with his former agent Tuesday in a bid to reach a settlement in their multi-million dollar court case. The two sides met for five hours at the High Court complex in Dublin, and the case was adjourned until Wednesday morning.

Judge Brian Cregan said progress had been made between the two sides Tuesday and he agreed to allow further last-minute talks to avoid a long and costly trial. The case had been expected to last eight weeks.
McIlroy was in court, along with business executive Barry Funston, who oversees the golfer’s charity work, and his cousin, Brian McIlroy. Ridge was also in court.

Wearing a dark suit and glasses, McIlroy arrived at the court on Tuesday morning for the start of proceedings. The case was quickly adjourned until the afternoon and then again until Wednesday as the two sides continued to negotiate.

Speaking before last week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which McIlroy won comfortably by three shots, the 25-year-old said of the lawsuit, “It’s not something that I would want anyone to go through. It’s a very sort of tedious and nasty process at times. 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. It will be nice once it’s over and done with.”

McIlroy has said in court papers that he signed the contract at Horizon’s Christmas party “in circumstances of great informality,” and without having seen a draft of the agreement before it was given to him to sign. Horizon is counter-suing, claiming McIlroy owes it millions of dollars in commissions. McIlroy left Horizon to form his own management company in 2013.

A Telegraph report claims McIlroy’s team attempted to settle with a $12 million pre-trial offer, but Horizon turned it down. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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