The Rory Mcilroy versus Horizon Sports Management case was due to tee off at 11am on Wednesday, but the crowds were already gathering outside the Four Courts almost an hour before. A throng of media were ready to greet golf’s golden boy. Photographers were scattered about the entrance, all looking for the optimal position for their shot.
An excited chatter broke out as a car approached from down the street. The photographers moved down looking for a better angle of the approaching star. Unfortunately, it was not the world-number-one arriving but instead they had been tricked by someone cheekily waving a cardboard cut out of Mcilroy.
At 11am, and with no Mcilroy in sight, the general consensus seemed to be that he would not be coming. Word quickly spread that the sides had reached an agreement the night before. The crowds made their way into the small courtroom and the jostling began to get the prime spot. The public gallery was full to the brim and even the jury’s box had been taken over by dutiful reporters.
Judge Brian Cregan entered from his chamber and everyone rose. Horizon’s barrister stood, as the rest of the room took their seats, and revealed the worst kept secret of the day. The two parties had agreed a settlement.
Just like that, a dispute that was expected to last eight weeks and cost millions in lost sponsorship deals for McIlroy, was over in about two minutes. Cregan called an end to the briefest of hearings and congratulated both parties wishing them success in the future.
The courtroom was abuzz with conversation once more, the small gathering of reporters eagerly scribbling, typing and tweeting their updates. The race had begun to break the news. Connor Ridge breathed a big sigh of relief as handshakes were shared and backs were patted.
Mr Ridge, who was flanked by supporters in the public gallery, hugged and kissed them after the announcement was made.
Copies of a joint statement were being snatched up and luckily thecity.ie were one of the lucky few to get our hands on one. It read:
“The legal dispute between Rory Mcilroy and Horizon Sports Management has been settled to the satisfaction of both parties who wish each other the best in the future. The parties will be making no further comment.”
The crowds began to slowly file out the doors of court one and into the awaiting lobby. There was a sense of disappointment among the reports, a case that attracted many eyeballs was over before it had ever really started. Eavesdropping on conversations and phone calls, one word was being constantly used – anticlimactic.
Then just like that, something clicked, and droves of reporters rushed towards the main doors. The Horizon legal team, along with Connor Ridge, were departing. The ‘scrum’ descended on the group as they made their way down the steps. Cameras clicked all around them as they tried to walk on through the chorus of voices that had greeted them.
The brief statement was read out for the press and then the group took their leave up the street. Some members of the scrum followed them. This was the last chance to squeeze something out of the story – to get that quote, or photograph before it was old news.
After a few minutes, calmness resumed outside the Four Courts. Most had left at this stage, on to their next assignment, but some stayed to film their reports. The next time Mcilroy is mentioned in the press, his dispute with Horizon will probably be long forgotten, and all the focus will be on the upcoming Masters.
By Donal Lucey