McIlroy accuses former sponsor of ‘harassment’
IRISH golfer Rory McIlroy has accused a sports clothing firm of trying to “harass” him by seeking a vast amount of documents from him, a court in the US has heard.
The US multinational Oakley is suing the golfer and Nike over McIlroy’s lucrative deal with Nike.
Prior to Nike deal, Mr McIlroy had an agreement with Oakley to wear and endorse its products, Oakley claims. And the firm also claims this deal gave it a right of first refusal over any new deal with McIlroy.
The golfer is relying on the credibility of his former agent Conor Ridge in the case in California – the same agent he is accusing of deception in a separate case in Dublin.
Oakley is seeking documents from Mr McIlroy in relation to his relationship with Mr Ridge from Horizon Sports Management.
Mr McIlroy said Oakley is trying to “harass” him by seeking vast documentation and engaging in a “sweeping fishing expedition”.
Oakley says the documents it is hunting are relevant to the credibility and level of care of the people involved, “particularly in light of the allegations of deception and exploitation at issue” in the Dublin case.
The Oakley submission said: “Mr Ridge’s credibility is at the heart of this case.”
“Last month however, McIlroy terminated his contract with Ridge and Horizon and has since initiated a lawsuit in Ireland against Horizon and has since initiated a lawsuit in Ireland against Horizon accusing it and Ridge of ‘exploiting’ and ‘misleading’ Mr McIlroy and of breaching their fiduciary duties.”
A ruling over whether the golfer should give over the documents will be made by the district court of California.
Mr McIlroy has already furnished Oakley with documents outlining his dealings with Nike. He has offered to hand over documents showing his representation agreement with Horizon, along with the book of papers from the Irish court case.
Meanwhile, the Dublin courts has heard that Horizon and Ridge will strongly contest the claims made by McIlroy. It is scheduled to make its submissions to Dublin’s Commercial Court on November 29.