Golf Rory McIlroy and Dad GerryInternational reports suggest that Rory McIlroy has split from Irish based Horizon Sports Management and is in the process of setting up a new management team led by his father Gerry.
McIlroy joined Horizon in October 2011, moving over to join friend and fellow countryman Graeme McDowell after leaving the larger management group of International Sports management where Lee Westwood was among the marquee clients.
Horizon has been a great commercial success for McIlroy with multi million and multi annual deals signed with Nike, Bose, Omega and Santander.  Reports over the weekend in the New York Times and elsewhere suggested that McIlroy was very involved in the signing and the detail of those contracts and it now appears he is willing to take on full responsibility within a tighter circle of advisers.
It has not been a good year so far.  Without a win on the US or European Tour the low point was a withdrawal mid round from a US Tour event in the spring citing painful wisdom teeth.  Pressure on the switch of clubs from Titleist to Nike has been intense but there was always likely to be a natural ‘getting to know you’ period.
It is just a shame for McIlroy that it has coincided with a return to form and prominence by Tiger Woods who regained the World number one spot, and the lions share of public interest, from McIlroy earlier this year.
Questions over McIlroy’s participation for Britain or Ireland at the 2016 Olympics have also been a distraction but more of the headlines have come from off the fairways in 2013 and that is never ideal.
The role of a manager is critical in any of the many individual sports where the team dynamic that supports many is sport is simply not there.  The importance of a good personal relationship can be seen in the example of Donegal native Ricky Simms and Olympic superstar Usain Bolt.
There is precedent though for setting up with friends and family as advisers.  Roger Federer did the same at an early stage of his career as did reigning US Masters Champion Adam Scott.
Gerry McIlroy has been a constant presence at his son’s side throughout his career, and he will take a closer control over the affairs of a star who was last week named as the world’s third most marketable international sports star.
Horizon itself received a boost at the weekend when Graeme McDowell won the World Matchplay Title in Bulgaria and will doubtless have done well from a stellar 20 months of commercial deals with McIlroy.
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