THE legal battle between golfer Rory McIlroy and his former management company has already begun.
The former world's number one golfer announced last Friday that he was splitting from Horizon Sports Management and setting up his own company to handle his affairs, with his father, Gerry, taking an important role.
It has now emerged that on the same day, the 24-year-old's legal team at A&L Goodbody lodged papers in the High Court.
A Commercial Court filing is expected to happen in the coming weeks, which will include a statement of claim, and a hearing could be scheduled soon after that.
It is understood that Horizon will be seeking compensation from McIlroy, as he ended his five-year contract after just two years.
The two-time major champion paid €5m to Horizon in just 18 months before deciding to exit the contract. It is believed that the sportsman from Holywood, Co Down, was deeply unhappy with some of the terms of the contract, despite the fact that he willingly signed up to it in the first place.
He was reportedly paying up to one-fifth in commission on certain earnings and felt that this was too much.
Announcing his split from Horizon, McIlroy said his business interests would now be handled by his own firm, Rory McIlroy Incorporated (RMI). The new company will be led by actuary Donal Casey while the golfer's charitable foundation, The Rory Foundation, will be run by businessman Barry Funston, a long-time family friend. Both men will serve on the board of RMI, along with the golfer's father, Gerry McIlroy.
Horizon, which is headed by well-known sports manager Conor Ridge, signalled it would be pursuing McIlroy for loss of earnings, saying in a statement: "Rory's decision to seek a termination of the management contract with Horizon is now regrettably in the hands of legal advisers."
In October 2011, McIlroy announced he was leaving Chubby Chandler's management firm ISM and signing with Horizon, saying: "I am now keen to move on to the next stage of my career and I feel this will be facilitated by a fresh view and a new structure around me."
In March 2012 he was crowned the world's number one golfer, and in January 2013 he signed a deal with Nike worth €150m over 10 years.
Since then, he has struggled with his golf game and fallen down the rankings to number six.