Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell share a country (Northern Ireland), a U.S. Open championship (McDowell in 2010, McIlroy in 2011), and now McDowell's contract with Horizon Sports Management, the agency that represented both golfers until McIlroy left the agency under less-than-friendly circumstances last summer.
The Irish Commercial Court ruled last week that McIlroy could gain access to McDowell’s contract with Horizon, as part of McIlroy's lawsuit against the agency, according to the Irish Independent newspaper.
In his lawsuit, McIlroy claims that he had “markedly inferior” commercial terms than McDowell despite being assured that their contracts were similar and alleges that he paid $6.8 million based on "unreasonable" fee rates, according to the Independent.
McIlroy also alleges that Horizon is not entitled to future fees based on his $20 million per year contract with Nike, negotiated when McIlroy was a Horizon client. Horizon is suing McIlroy for $3 million for breach of contract.
The court heard Mr. McIlroy's claim of undue influence is based on grounds including alleged representations by Conor Ridge of Horizon he would get similar representation terms to Graeme McDowell.
[McIlroy’s attorney] said his client had relied on those representations which turned out to be untrue as his client's terms were significantly inferior to Mr McDowell's.
Mr. McIlroy was also unaware, either when discussing the representation agreement with Conor Ridge in October 2011 or signing it, that Mr. McDowell had a shareholding in Horizon.
The trial is scheduled for next January.
Despite the lawsuit, McIlroy and McDowell have tried to remain friends, though McDowell has acknowledged than he and McIlroy are not as close as they used to be.
McIlroy said recently that he and McDowell still talk regularly and that there will no tension between the two players at the Ryder Cup in September: "I would love to tee it up with G-Mac at the Ryder Cup," McIlroy said.