Rory McIlroy, Oakley announce settlement of lawsuit
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Rory McIlroy, Oakley announce settlement of lawsuit

Rory McIlroy and Oakley jointly announced Sunday they had settled their lawsuit stemming from McIlroy's signing with Nike Golf at the end of 2012.

"We are very pleased the proceedings against Rory have been resolved. We enjoyed an excellent relationship with Rory as an Oakley brand ambassador," said Pat McIlvain, VP of Oakley Sports Marketing, in a statement. "He conducted all his engagements on our behalf with energy and professionalism. We recognize that, in his business dealings with us that were the subject matter of this dispute, Rory was represented by his agent."

"I always had an excellent working relationship with Oakley's representatives and I am delighted the case is now behind me," McIlroy said in the same statement.

Oakley filed suit against McIlroy and Nike Golf in a California federal court in Dec. 2012, alleging McIlroy and then-agent Conor Ridge, acting on McIlroy's behalf, violated their contract with the apparel maker in negotiating and signing an agreement with the Oregon-based Nike. Oakley claimed its contract contained what's known as a right of first refusal, affording Oakley the opportunity to match any offer made by a competitor for the goods they sell: apparel and eyewear.

Ridge, on McIlroy's behalf, claimed McIlvain had waived Oakley's right of first refusal in an email to Ridge in which McIlvain said, "Understood. We are out of the mix. No contract for 2013. Pat Mac."

On Nov. 18, Oakley filed a motion in court for partial summary judgment, looking for the case to end, implicating both Nike, McIloy and Ridge.

That same day, Nike filed a proposal motion for summary judgment to end the case, distancing itself from the actions of Ridge, claiming it did not violate the law, rather was led on by Ridge, neither aware of the right of first refusal nor that Oakley had not yet be entitled to its opportunity to match the offer when McIlroy signed with Nike on Sept. 29, 2012 in Chicago. Nike also claimed in the document that Oakley and a redacted organization also leaked out to media that McIlroy had indeed signed with Nike.

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In a signed statement, Ridge agreed to keep silent on matters decided in the settlement, which was submitted under seal, with the documents asking for said judgment heavily redacted.

Ridge and McIlroy are suing each other in an Irish court related to their falling out. In spring 2013, rumors came out that McIlroy had parted ways with Ridge and his Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management. McIlroy announced in September he had formed Rory McIlroy Inc., creating his own representation firm, saying in legal complaints that Ridge did not properly disclose the terms of their agent-representation agreement and that Ridge was collecting too much money as commission on McIlroy's endorsement. The trial in an Irish commercial court is set to resume in early 2014.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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