Rory McIlroy said Monday that mediation in a lawsuit with his former management company has failed, and he will skip his next two tournaments in China because he needs time to prepare for the trial. McIlroy will not play the BMW Masters, which starts October 30 at Lake Malaren, or the following week at the HSBC Champions. Those are the opening two events in the final series of the Race to Dubai on the European Tour. The HSBC Champions is a World Golf Championship.
The world’s No. 1 player has been involved in an acrimonious dispute with Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management. He left Horizon in the spring of 2013, about six months after signing a lucrative contract with Nike. Both groups have sued each other, and McIlroy’s attorneys have sought evidence that Graeme McDowell was getting a better deal from Horizon. A judge recommended mediation to keep sensitive documents from going public.
“I’m going to need time away from tournament golf to prepare for the trial over my legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management,” McIlroy said in a statement. “The court-direction mediation process failed over the weekend to resolve the issue.”
The trial is expected to begin in February. McIlroy has virtually locked up the Race to Dubai. He is not expected to play until the DP World Tour in Dubai on November 20-23. He also plans to defend his title in the Australian Open, which would be his final tournament of the year.
McIlroy won the British Open, a World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship in consecutive starts, which enabled him to win PGA Tour player of the year for the second time in three seasons. He also won the Vardon Trophy and the PGA Tour money title. He played in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf last week in Bermuda, a 36-hole exhibition among current major champions. McIlroy finished a distant third.