Circumstances of deal hold key to McIlroy legal fight

20 October 2013

This article, written by Partner Niall Collins, first appeared in the Sunday Independent on 20th October 2013. © Copyright Sunday Independent 2013. All rights reserved. To view this article as it originally appeared, please download the pdf document to the right.

Golf has a habit of throwing up some rather interesting legal spats. Back in 1930, an amateur golfer by the name of Cyril Tolley succeeded in a claim for defamation when he was depicted in a national newspaper advertisement with a packet of Fry's chocolate sticking out of his trouser pocket. The defamatory meaning of the advertisement was said to be that Tolley had used his reputation as an amateur golfer for advertising purposes.

Earlier this year, Vijay Singh filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour claiming damages for its handling of and reaction to the deer antler spray controversy. Singh's lawsuit alleges the Tour exposed Singh to public humiliation and breached its duty to him by utilising a flawed investigation and imposing unfair discipline.

That particular litigation train doesn't look like reaching a station any time soon.

Closer to home, last Monday Rory McIlroy's legal team applied to have the case against his former management company, Horizon Sports Management, heard in the Commercial Court in Dublin. Depending on which report one reads, the grounds of McIlroy's claim appear based on, amongst other things, breach of contract and also that the agreements with Horizon are in restraint of trade and are 'unconscionable'.

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