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McIlroy announces new management team

DUBLIN (AP) - Rory McIlroy said Friday he has ended his contract with one management company and is starting his own.

McIlroy, a two-time major champion from Northern Ireland, began the process of changing his management in May and he has been negotiating a settlement from Horizon Sports Management.

McIlroy said a Dublin-based legal team, A&L Goodbody, is handling ``details of the termination,'' though a settlement does not appear imminent.

Horizon officials received word of the development while going to the wedding this weekend of Graeme McDowell. It later issued a statement saying it noted ``with disappointment'' McIlroy's announcement and that its contract has a ``number of years to run.''

``Rory's decision to see a termination of the management contract with Horizon is now regrettably in the hands of legal advisors,'' the Horizon statement said.

The former world No. 1 has created Rory McIlroy Inc. to handle his business interests. It will be led by Donal Casey, an Irish businessman who worked for Horizon Sports as its director of strategy. Casey previously was the managing director in Ireland for Aon Hewitt and chief executive for Irish Life Corporate Business.

Barry Funston, a business leader and longtime family friend, will be in charge of The Rory Foundation. Casey and Funston will be on the Rory McIlroy Inc. board along with Gerry McIlroy, the golfer's father.

It's the second time in two years that McIlroy is under new management. He left International Sports Management and Chubby Chandler during a surprise split in the fall of 2011, just months after McIlroy won his first major with a record-setting performance at the U.S. Open.

He signed with Dublin-based Horizon Sports, which negotiated an early end to McIlroy's Titleist contract to sign an equipment deal with Nike believed to be worth upward of $20 million a year.

McIlroy is coming off his worst season in five years. He started the year at No. 1 in the world, has failed to win a tournament and didn't qualify for the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour. He has fallen to No. 6 in the world.

The split from Horizon has been seen as a distraction, and it has been awkward at times. Even late in the year, Horizon officials were at press conferences and corporate functions as the agency of record, though McIlroy had a personal press assistant with him who previously worked at Horizon.

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