May 22, 2013 / 4:54 PM / 6 years ago

McIlroy tight-lipped on management split

VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - World number two Rory McIlroy refused on Wednesday to confirm reports he had parted company with his management group, Horizon Sports.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the third hole during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship PGA golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina May 4, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Keane

Close friend and fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell suggested at last week’s World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria that McIlroy had split with Horizon.

“Look, I’m here to talk about golf and I cannot really comment on speculation at this point,” the U.S. PGA Championship winner told reporters on the eve of the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

“Obviously you guys know that something’s up. That’s fair enough but at this point I can’t really say much more,” said McIlroy who joined Horizon from former tour player Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler’s International Sports Management stable in 2011.

“I don’t want to get myself in a position I don’t want to be in. It is what it is, the truth will come out one day and I guess you’ll just have to be patient.”

McIlroy, 24, hinted some initial friction developed between him and Horizon stablemate McDowell but added the two friends had smoothed over their differences before Tuesday night’s European Tour Player of the Year dinner.

“I spoke to Graeme yesterday... and everything’s good,” said 2012 Player of the Year McIlroy.

“There won’t be any pulling the clubs out of the bag at the wrong time over the next few days or any of that stuff,” he added, laughing.

McIlroy went on to underline the closeness of his relationship with Ryder Cup partner McDowell, 33.

“I’m great friends with Graeme,” he explained. “He’s been a real big brother to me on tour.

“I remember playing practice rounds with him at the Dunhill Links Championship back in 2007 when I got my tour card. He really showed me the ropes out here.”

McIlroy said he had a lump in his throat before the awards dinner when all 12 members of Europe’s triumphant 2012 Ryder Cup team were given a gift by their captain in Illinois, Jose Maria Olazabal.

“We had a nice little presentation before we left for the dinner, all 12 of us together,” said the 2011 U.S. Open champion. “Jose presented us with a nice memento.

“Jose was giving a speech and I felt like, I don’t want to lose it here. He is such an inspirational character and just being with all the players again brought back so many great memories of that week.

“It was the best. I’m very proud of my individual achievements in golf but by far the best experiences I’ve had on a golf course have been at the Ryder Cup,” said McIlroy who also featured in Europe’s victory in Wales in 2010.

Editing by Alison Wildey

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