McIlroy takes legal action against Horizon

Sports management company set to vigorously defend actions taken by the former world number one

Rory McIlroy, who has issued legal proceedings against three defendants in Dublin’s High Court.

Rory McIlroy, who has issued legal proceedings against three defendants in Dublin’s High Court.


Rory McIlroy, the former world number one and two-time Major champion, has issued legal proceedings in the High Court in Dublin against three defendants, one of which is Horizon Sports Management. The papers were filed last Friday, the same day on which McIlroy announced his split from Horizon and set up his own management company, Rory McIlroy Incorporated (RMI).

McIlroy, winner of the US Open in 2011 and last year’s US PGA championship, joined Horizon in 2011 – shortly after his breakthrough Major success at Congressional – and earlier this year signed a multi-year contract with Nike worth an estimated €185 million.

He also has signed other blue chip sponsorships with Bose and Omega since joining the Horizon stable, having split previously from International Sports Management.

Although his contract with Horizon was due to run until 2017, McIlroy confirmed last week that he was terminating the arrangement.

File an affidavit
The next step in the proceedings will be for McIlroy to file an affidavit. Disputes worth more than €1 million are likely to be heard in the Commercial Court.

McIlroy has issued proceedings against Horizon Sports Management Ltd, Canovan Management Services and Gurteen Ltd. There are no records of Gurteen Ltd in the Irish or British companies registers.

The last annual returns for Horizon Sports Management in September 2012 show that the directors were Moya O’Beirne, Colin Morrissey and Conor Ridge and the shareholders are listed as Leestreet Ltd (254 shares), Emma McGrath (261 shares), Conor Ridge (395 shares) and Colin Morrissey (183 shares).

Special resolution
Leestreet Ltd (based in Athlone) cancelled its shareholding in October by special resolution. In April of this year, Thomas Donohue and Catherine Clarke resigned as directors of Leestreet and were replaced by Martin and Sylvia Jacob.

Although Leestreet Ltd is no longer a shareholder in Horizon, Martin and Sylvia Jacob are involved as defendants in the McIlroy action as shareholders in Canovan Management Services. Martin Jacob has 99 shares in the company and Sylvia Jacob has one, which up until March of this year was held by a company based in the British Virgin Islands.

Horizon, who have not filed any documents, are set to vigorously defend the actions taken by McIlroy. The company, established by Ridge and Morrissey, includes a number of other golfers – among them former US Open champion Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry, currently ranked 11th and 71st in the world respectively – in its stable.