Niall Horan Profile
|Born||Sep 13, 1993|
|Birthplace||Mullingar, Westmeath, Ireland|
Niall Horan found fame and fortune with boy band One Direction and now he is helping the R&A bring golf into the 21st century.
Musician Niall Horan is a passionate golfer for whom merely lowering his handicap is not enough - his quest is for the rest of the world to enjoy the sport as much as he does.
He found fame at the age of 16, when his appearance on The X Factor led to the formation of boy band One Direction.
The group were immediately signed up by Simon Cowell and went on to achieve worldwide success before taking an indefinite break after the release of their fifth studio album in late 2015.
Horan has also prospered as a solo artist but, within months of the One Direction pause, he had taken his love of golf to another level with the formation of the management company Modest! Golf.
From those early baby steps, his involvement has expanded into the successful handling of players' careers, charity initiatives, tournament launches, and, as of 2021, official support from the R&A, the guardians of the sport outside of the United States.
"I just really love the sport," he told Forbes.com in a 2020 interview.
"I'm totally mad for it and I genuinely love all types of golf. Women's golf, men's golf, college golf.
"If someone is on TV swinging a golf club, I'm happy to watch. I think there'll always be a market there for lunatics like me who will just happily sit there and watch it.
Learning to love golf
Horan is a huge sports fan, particularly soccer and Gaelic football.
He played golf as a youngster growing up in Mulligar and enjoyed staying up late on Masters Sunday with his dad.
A knee injury in 2010 put paid to his football activities and he discovered that turning off his phone when out on the golf course provided a great escape.
He takes his clubs out on tour (he would also play when touring with One Direction, has a handicap of eight and aims to get it down to five.
He even has a mini golf course in his home to help him achieve that target.
Friendship with Rory McIlroy
Horan has played Pro-Ams at Wentworth, and also the Emirates Golf Club, with former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and in 2015 he even caddied for his friend in the pre-Masters Par-3 Tournament.
"I can't say I've been that nervous in a long time!" he said to Sky Sports. "It was tough, but it was alright!
"It's great to be around Rory. It's a big week for him and hopefully come Sunday he'll have a green jacket on his back."
Two years later he would attend McIlroy's wedding and in 2020 he told Forbes.com: "You chat with Rory McIlroy and it's the calmness you notice.
"He's the nicest, most clearly well-brought up boy, but you get him out there on the course and he's a danger."
Passion for the game
His regular appearances in the Pro-Ams at the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, have prompted unusually large galleries, many of them youngsters previously uninterested in the sport.
Indeed, it's possible that his social media posts about golf, which are regular, are the most read in the game given his enormous, and interactive, 40 million followers on Twitter alone.
In August 2019 he told Today's Golfer: "I'll be doing meet and greets with people on the street and one or two people will come up to me and say they started playing because I play golf.
"It's exactly why I wanted to start Modest! Golf."
He has also joined forces with Justin Rose to host the annual Horan & Rose charity tournament which has raised over £2million for good causes.
And he is also involved with Augusta National Golf Club's pre-Masters Drive, Chip and Putt event for young children.
The move into management
In 2016 Horan joined forces with Mark McDonnell and Ian Watts to create Modest! Golf which is described, on the company website, as: "A fresh and family focussed company concentrated on talent."
Horan is particularly keen to identify young players and help them progress with patience.
The first signing the company made was the Italian Guido Migliozzi who, despite being exceptionally raw at the top-level, won twice in his first season on the European Tour in 2019.
The same year South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout won a first title in the Andalucia Masters and finished 18th in the Race to Dubai.
Meanwhile Leona Maguire, the young Irish star, claimed a win on the second tier Symetra Tour and not only graduated to the LPGA Tour, but made herself at home there in 2020.
The young stable was bolstered when joined by Tyrrell Hatton who promptly claimed the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2020, a first PGA Tour win for Modest!
Other golfers under the Modest! Golf wing includes Connor Syme, Jack Singh Brar, Jayden Schaper, Angel Yin, Olivia Cowan and disability golfer Brendan Lawler.
The same year that Modest! Golf was formed the company managed the Challenge Tour's NI Open at Galgorm Castle.
In 2019 the event changed name and format, becoming the ISPS Handa World Invitational, with a field of both men and women.
Horan is especially keen to create a platform for female golfers, as well as men.
The 2020 lockdown stopped the further growth of the tournament, but plans are afoot for it to expand beyond the second tier of European golf.
In late January 2021 it was announced that the R&A has appointed Modest! Golf to work on designing and developing a series of future grassroots programmes aimed at inspiring young people to get into golf.
The project will leverage the power of influencers from the worlds of both sport and entertainment, making sure to challenge unhelpful perceptions of the game.
Chief Development Officer of the R&A, Phil Anderton, said: "Our relationship with Modest! Golf is built on a shared ambition for golf to be viewed as a fun, friendly and accessible sport that is inclusive of all people no matter their age, gender, ability or background."
Horan himself added: "I am honoured that the chief executive Martin Slumbers, Phil Anderton and The R&A are entrusting my agency to help drive the game forward."
Niall Horan's net worth
Horan was reported by the Evening Standard in late 2020 to be worth $70million.
He owns a $1.7million mansion in his home town of Mullingar, Westmeath, and a $4million mansion in the Hollywood Hills.