Rory McIlroy is one of the brightest young stars on the PGA Tour, and he's made a decision that will serve him well in the future.
According to a report by Karl MacGinty of The Irish Independent, McIlroy has decided to leave his old management firm Horizon Sports and will now be managed by his own firm, run by family and close friends.
McIlroy's good friend and fellow pro golfer Graeme McDowell confirmed MacGinty's report, via Karen Crouse of The New York Times, saying:
Management is a funny thing, and when things are maybe not going 100 percent on the golf course it’s natural to question everything you are doing from relationships, business and just everything you do. Sometimes we decide to make choices and decisions and take new paths.
For McIlroy, this move lines up perfectly with what's best for his future.
The Northern Irish star has been around for a few years, but at the age of 24, he's still younger than many of the young players on the PGA Tour. In his eight years as a professional, McIlroy has won six PGA Tour events—two of which just so happen to be major championships.
Not only is McIlroy an exceptionally gifted golfer, but he's also quite charismatic. When he's on his game and playing well—his smile on full display for the world to see—McIlroy's charisma shines through like a beacon.
Fans want to love him, and major corporations want to use him.
Fans get too caught up in what players do from shot to shot, from week to week on tour. Fans are also fickle, and many turn on players at the drop of a hat when results haven't been exemplary for a few weeks.
"How can this guy call himself a professional golfer," they might say after McIlroy misses the cut for the second straight week. They'll inevitably come up with all sorts of "logical" excuses for why the young man suddenly isn't playing up to expectations—most of which couldn't be farther from the truth.
Tiger Woods destroyed the perception that golf is actually a really hard game to play by making it look easy for years.
His heyday ruined how fans view golfers.
The truth of the matter is that golf is not an easy game, and there aren't many people in the history of the world who could put up a 10-year run to rival Tiger's best.
That said, in the long run McIlroy's immense talent will inevitably lead to a career of consistent success, and he's already proved he is a marketable star. At the start of this new year, McIlroy signed a lucrative five-year contract with Nike that was worth over $100 million, according to Crouse.
Entire commercial markets have been created and destroyed because of our society's penchant for instantly falling in love with athletes to the point where we want to buy stuff attached to their names.
McIlroy will get plenty of other opportunities to sign huge endorsement deals with other major companies as he continues to improve as a professional golfer. Winning more majors will certainly help him increase his demand, and from what we've seen of this young man, he's more than capable of adding to his total.
But as his marketability increases, so does the pressure to stay on top.
McIlroy likely feels that his family and friends are more concerned with his future than a big marketing firm, which is surely why he made the switch.
Golf is such a mental game, and when your mind is troubled—however minor it may feel on the outside—it's a game that is difficult to play.
Perhaps this is why other elite athletes such as Tiger Woods, tennis star Roger Federer and world football player Lionel Messi have made a similar life choice to be managed by close friends and family, via MacGinty.
Looking at the career paths of these three megastars, the strategy has seemingly paid off.
Handing over the financial and personal decisions that will inevitably shape one's career is a daunting task. Professional athletes must be able to focus solely on their craft in order to achieve greatness.
With people in place McIlroy knows he can trust, he'll be able to completely let go of any worry or concern he may have about his future plans. This will allow him to simply put his mind toward what he has on his plate from day to day.
McIlroy's future as a professional golfer is just getting started.
With this added bit of mental security, he will continue to rise up as one of the best golfers and most marketable athletes on the planet.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.