Lee Westwood splits with coach Foley
On European Tour, Portugal’s Ricardo Santos takes Africa Open lead after a 62
Lee Westwood, left, and coach Sean Foley have parted ways: “I just wanted to work on swing positions and stuff like that a bit more. I didn’t feel like Sean coached like that, so it didn’t really fit what I wanted to do,” said Westwood. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Former world number one Lee Westwood has split from coach Sean Foley as he looks to arrest an alarming slide down the world rankings.
Westwood began working with Foley, who also coaches Tiger Woods and Justin Rose, shortly before the British Open last summer and finished third at Muirfield after taking a two-shot lead into the final round.
However, the 40-year-old Englishman recorded just one subsequent top-10 finish on the European Tour during the rest of a winless season and has started 2014 with a share of 47th at the Farmers Insurance Open and a missed cut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Westwood spent a total of 22 weeks as world number one in two spells after succeeding Woods in October 2010, but is now ranked 33rd.
Speaking about ending his time with Foley, he told GolfWeek : “I just wanted to work on swing positions and stuff like that a bit more. I didn’t feel like Sean coached like that, so it didn’t really fit what I wanted to do.
“I felt like I had the game that got me to world number one. And I was working on stuff that I didn’t work on back then, so it made sense to go back to what I was working on before.”
Asked about finding a new coach, Westwood added: “I have things in the pipeline. Nobody has got any need to apply.”
On the European Tour, Portugal’s Ricardo Santos carded a 62 to take the lead after a day of low scoring in the Africa Open in East London yesterday.
Santos, European Tour rookie of the year in 2012 after winning his first title on home soil in the Madeira Islands Open, fired nine birdies and no bogeys to finish nine under par, two ahead of Garth Mulroy, Rhys Davies, Richard Bland and Lucas Bjerregaard.
Scotland’s David Drysdale was among a six-strong group another shot adrift on six-under on a day when 91 players broke 70 and 110 of the 156-strong field finished below par.
Among those to shoot in the 60s were the Irish trio of Damien McGrane, who carded a four-under 67 and is a shot ahead Michael Hoey, and rookie Kevin Phelan, who signed for a two-under 69.
David Higgins finished with a 70, with Gareth Maybin on level after a 71.
Speaking after his sparkling start, Santos said: “I played really solidly today and gave myself a lot of chances for birdie, and I took a lot of those chances. I’m very pleased to make a run like I did today.
“I hit the ball solidly from the tee and my putting was all good. To shoot minus nine you have to play awesome golf, so I’m really pleased with every piece of my game.”