Wednesday 16 October 2019

McIlroy: McDowell friendship cast-iron despite Horizon comment

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Karl MacGinty

RORY McILROY has revealed that he and Graeme McDowell are bonded like brothers, insisting nothing can break them apart.

As expected, McIlroy was unable to comment yesterday on his impending departure from Dublin management company Horizon as efforts continue in the background to resolve complex legal and financial issues.

Asked during a pre-tournament media conference at the BMW PGA Championship if his inability to comment was due to contractual commitments to Horizon, McIlroy simply replied: "Could be. Obviously, you guys know something's up. That's fair enough. But at this moment I can't say much more."

Still, McIlroy (right) admitted his relationship with McDowell came under stress when the Portrush man, caught in the middle of this matter, was quoted in the media.

On Tuesday, McIlroy made his feelings plain with his brusque response to a question about the Horizon issue, saying sharply: "Ask G-Mac, he knows more than me."

Yet any differences with his Seve Trophy and Ryder Cup partner have been resolved. "I know what I said the other day and I guess at the time I meant that. But now it's just water under the bridge," McIlroy insisted.

"I spoke to Graeme yesterday afternoon. We got back to the hotel and just had a chat," he added, saying the atmosphere will be amicable when they play together in today's first round at Wentworth.

"Everything's good, so there won't be anyone drawing clubs at the wrong time over the next few days or anything like that," McIlroy joked, referring to the bust-up between Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods at Sawgrass.

"I'm great friends with Graeme, He's been a real big brother to me on Tour. He really showed me the ropes when I first came out here."

As for the media, McIlroy commented: "Someone very smart said to me a couple of weeks ago, 'if you want to be in the circus, you have to put up with clowns'."

McIlroy has several years remaining on the Horizon contract he signed 18 months ago but is keen to set up his own company to run his affairs, with dad Gerry expected to have a presiding role.

Two Horizon personnel have been earmarked to help manage his career, along with family, friends and other confidants, while links the Dublin firm forged for McIlroy with independent legal and financial experts are likely to be maintained.

Irish Independent

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