Monday 10 December 2018

Billy Foster linked with Rory McIlroy role as caddie splits from Lee Westwood

 

McIlroy may be tempted to go for an experienced hand like Foster. Photo: AP
McIlroy may be tempted to go for an experienced hand like Foster. Photo: AP

Brian Keogh and James Corrigan

Speculation is growing that Rory McIlroy may be tempted to team up with top caddie Billy Foster after the Yorkshireman's recent split with England's Lee Westwood.

Westwood (45) won the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City on Sunday with his partner Helen Storey on the bag after parting company with Foster following the Turkish Airlines Open.

And with McIlroy's caddie and best friend Harry Diamond now looking forward to married life, the Co Down man is certain to be asked at this week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai if he's planning to stick with Diamond for another year.

Foster was one of the names linked with McIlroy's bag when he split with caddie JP Fitzgerald after The Open last year.

However, while he was inundated with offers, he didn't want to poach another top player's caddie in mid-season and took on his boyhood pal Diamond at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron instead.

Full-time

The move became a full-time arrangement this year but with McIlroy failing to get back to top form this year, despite one win and nine top-10 finishes, he may be tempted to go for an experienced hand like Foster, who has also worked for the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke Sergio Garcia and briefly for Tiger Woods.

"Lee wanted to work differently to everything we had ever done, which basically meant me just carrying the bag," Foster said on his split with Westwood, who now insists on doing his own yardages.

"I struggled to adapt to that as a caddie, and it created a bit of an uncomfortable atmosphere on the course. Ultimately, it was no good for Lee and not fair on me.

"It has been a great 10 years of my life and we had many special times. I can only wish him good luck moving forward - -although I do feel he could have waited more than a week - before winning a million dollars!"

Westwood, who has also used his son Sam as caddie, won €1,095,338 on Sunday when he romped to a three-shot win in Sun City, ending a three-and-a-half year victory drought.

His partner Storey, who is a fitness trainer in Newcastle, leapt into his arms after he holed the winning putt.

"She's caddied twice for me this year and we lost in a playoff in Denmark and we've won here," Westwood said with a grin.

"Have to have a bit of a rethink, not least about who caddies for me, but our percentages."

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