Niall Horan: Golf's Jerry Maguire
If Jerry Maguire was real life, then maybe his fantasy firm would be Niall Horan’s Modest! Golf Management.
Fewer clients, a “small family” and a boutique company.
It’s all a far cry from the chasing the dollar world of the PGA Tour and even further removed from that which Horan calls a day job.
But putting aside the demands of being in One Direction, one of the world’s most successful pop groups, the 23-year-old is launching himself head-long into golf.
That the Irishman fancies a sojourn into fairways and greens should be no surprise for any watchers of the game.
Close friends with Rory McIlroy, he caddied for the four-time Major winner in the par 3 tournament at Augusta in 2015 – when an unfortunate slip was captured on video and shared around the world.
Horan’s love for the game is genuine, passionate, and gave the single figure handicapper a chance to escape from the suffocating monotony of touring and hotel rooms.
So, teaming up with Mark McDonnell and Ian Watts as directors, he established Modest! Golf – an off-shoot from the management company which has One Direction and other X-Factor hits Little Mix and Olly Murs on their books.
While shunning large aspirations, Modest! have still been making their presence felt from an early stage.
In May, they became the official golf management partner for the Northern Ireland Open, at Galgorm Castle – a Challenge Tour event won by New Zealand’s Ryan Fox.
Promising amateur Guido Migliozzi then became the emerging company’s first signing in August, the 19-year-old singled out not only for his talent but his family background.
— Mark McDonnell (@markmac14) August 8, 2016
Horan’s move into golf management has brought the sport some unlikely publicity.
When Migliozzi signed on the dotted line, it prompted the teenage website SugarScape – fervent fans of 1D – to cry: “Who is Guido Migliozzi and why is he so fit: An investigation”.
And when Horan turned up at the BMW Championship at Wentworth in May, it was like something from a red carpet premiere as hordes of fans queued up for autographs and pictures.
It was great for the game.
Make no mistake, without Horan’s participation they would not have been at a golf event – European Tour flagship or not.
As a way of getting golf into the living rooms of young people, who every organisation involved in the game are trying to entice over the last two years, there could have been no better advert.
With further player announcements due from Modest! before the end of 2016, it will be interesting to see how they develop.
What is certain, however, is that Horan is in it for the long haul.