Rory McIlroy’s girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki has again claimed their relationship is as strong as ever – but his love affair with manager Conor Ridge is definitely over.
Wozniacki took to social media to slam fresh reports in the Irish media that the two are no longer an item and other reports that the 24-year-old golfer was exchanging texts with model Nadia Forde.
The tennis star rubbished the stories on the same day McIlroy applied to Dublin’s High Court to bring an official end to his short but lucrative deal with Ridge and the Horizon Sports Group.
The case has been transferred to Ireland’s Commercial Court and may be heard this time next year as Horizon lodge a counter claim against McIlroy for loss of earnings from a series of deals including a lucrative $250million sponsorship contract with Nike.
In his action, McIlroy has claimed that he paid more than $7million to Horizon, based on fees ‘many times greater’ than normal.
His lawyers told the court that he former world number one wants to end his contract with Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management and two other companies, Gurteen and Canovan Management.
He is also looking to recover some of the fees paid to Horizon and a $140,000 payment to children’s charity Unicef.
Court papers reveal County Down native claims he was exploited when he first signed a contract at the end of 2011 because he had no knowledge of negotiations.
He alleges he paid more than $7million to Horizon based on commission rates of five per cent on his pre-tax on-course earnings and 20 per cent for off-course.
McIlroy ‘reasonable’ commission is zero for golf course and 5-7 per cent for off-course earnings and that he should be repaid the difference plus damages.
He has also claimed that Horizon paid Unicef over $140,000 of his money in March 2013 without his knowledge or consent and was ‘in deliberate and knowing defiance of an instruction’. This payment has since been reversed according to papers filed with the court.
The court was told the case would involve a range of complex issues and that Horizon intends to issue a counter-claim against McIlroy according to Irish state broadcaster RTE.
Their report says that in documents submitted to the court, lawyers for McIlroy said Horizon began acting for the golfer in October 2011 by which time he had become one of the world’s leading golfers.
The court was told he was the most sought-after players in professional golf from an agent’s perspective, because of his youth, his positive image and the likelihood he would have a long and successful career lasting 20 to 25 years.
The court heard McIlroy had full trust in Horizon and that Horizon was aware of his lack of expertise in business affairs.
McIlroy claims that he signed an agreement with Horizon in late 2011 without receiving substantive independent legal advice.
An initial three-year deal saw him charged him 5 per cent of prize-winnings from golf events and 20 per cent of pre-tax sums from sponsorship and appearance fees.
The deal was extended to six years in March and provided for Horizon to continue receiving commission in relation to the $20m per annum sponsorship deal with Nike.
Horizon said in a statement it was ‘disappointed’ with the decision to begin legal action and that its management, Rory McIlroy had signed some of the most lucrative endorsement contracts in sports history and was one of the world’s most highly remunerated sports people.
It said it would vigorously and comprehensively defend the claim and had confidence in its position.
The statement added: “Horizon will always be proud of what we achieved together and wish Rory McIlroy well in his future golf career.”
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