Rory McIlroy is leaving Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management and setting up his own shop with family and close friends, according to The Irish Independent.
McIlroy’s father Gerry is expected to play a prominent role in the new operation. Just over 18 months ago, McIlroy, one of world sport’s hottest properties, stunned golf by quitting the giant International Sports Management, run by Chubby Chandler, and joining Horizon, a Dublin firm with global ambitions.
McIlroy’s management team at Horizon have been taken aback by this latest development in the ever-eventful career of Irish golf’s charismatic world No 2. However, they are remaining tight-lipped pending further discussions with McIlroy (above), whose management contract at Horizon has a number of years to run.
Professional golf circles have been rife with speculation about McIlroy’s plans to set up his own management structure, but Horizon boss Conor Ridge declined to comment on the matter or answer any questions.
“We simply do not comment on industry rumours or speculation,” he insisted. “Horizon Sports Management always has and always will give first priority to the confidentiality of its clients.”
I first heard about this development the week of The Heritage from a friend at another agency, who called asking if I had Rory’s dad’s phone number. At Quail Hollow, I asked Rory’s day-to-day manager, Sean O’Flaherty of Horizon, about the rumor. He denied it, but I got the feeling he was “denying” it because of legal or contractual bindings. I had also heard Rory was bringing Sean with him, which would make sense.
Two of Rory’s childhood friends have accompanied him in his last two starts at Quail Hollow and The Players. I’m speculating that they’ll be involved in his new management group.
On Sunday at The Players, reporters asked Rory about the rumors he was leaving Horizon and he firmly denied them.