World number-two Rory McIlroy is set to leave Irish-based sports management company Horizon. McIlroy’s relationship with Horizon and manager Conor Ridge has lasted a mere 20 months, but is believed to have ended amicably. McIlroy departed Chubby Chandler’s ISM stable in October 2011 for Horizon, whose roster also includes fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.
In a bold move, McIlroy will replace his current management arrangements by setting up his own company and management team. The new Team McIlroy is expected to involve family members and others close to the star, and will handle all aspects of what is becoming a monster brand.
The Ulsterman’s time with Horizon has brought many lucrative deals; none more so than his club and clothing arrangement with Nike, believed to be worth a staggering $250m. But McIlroy has always liked to do things his own way, and one suspects he doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do. Gerry McIlroy, Rory’s father and closest confidant, will take on a senior role in the new company so things from now on will be done very much the McIlroy way.
When the R&A recently attempted to get involved in the discussion regarding McIlroy’s choice of playing for either Great Britain or Ireland in the 2016 Olympics, he was quick to nip it in the bud. He showed no leaning toward either nation, but he firmly stamped his authority on the subject by making it clear that he, and only he, would make that decision when the time comes.
There have been a lot of changes in McIlroy’s life in recent years, both on and off the course, as we have watched his star climb ever higher. His off course set up is now beginning to strike a resemblance to that of Tiger Woods, an intimate circle containing everything that is needed for a golfer of superstar quality. He is also believed to be setting up a charitable foundation with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.