RORY McILROY fired his Dublin-based sports agency last week after paying them a staggering €5m over an 18-month period, writes Ian Mallon.
It has been learned that McIlroy decided to part company with Horizon Sports Management because he believed they were costing him too much money.
McIlroy believes that the $7.5m he says he paid the group over the one-and-a-half year period did not make business sense, despite having willingly signed up to the agreement two years ago.
Sports agency sources said that the payouts to Horizon accounted for around one-fifth of his earnings over the period, a sum described as "very significant indeed".
The two-times Major winner believes he had no option but to sever ties with the company, headed up by Conor Ridge, as his contract does not run out until 2017.
McIlroy has now joined his own company, Rory McIlroy Incorporated, which is run by CEO Donal Casey.
It is expected that the fallout from the split will make its way to the High Court in Dublin, and McIlroy has hired the services of law firm A&L Goodbody.
The other big news from the newly rearranged "Team McIlroy" was the appointment of PR guru Terry Prone, who will now handle all of the 24-year-old's media.
This is the second time in two years that McIlroy has broken from his agent, having parted company with Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler in 2011, just after he won the US Open.
While the break-up with Chandler did sour the pair's relationship somewhat, this latest split is set to have long-running consequences.
Conor Ridge has declined to comment to the Sunday Independent about the money Horizon has been paid by McIlroy.
Ridge was yesterday attending the wedding of Graeme McDowell – now the main golfing star on Horizon's books – in the Caribbean.
- Ian Mallon