• PGA Tour

Restless Westwood sacks coach, changes caddie

ESPN staff
August 14, 2012 « Kompany would love to work with Van Persie | Chartbeat test »

Lee Westwood has sacked his coach and his interim caddie after his disappointing performance at the US PGA Championship.

As Rory McIlroy - a friend turned adversary, if tour rumour is to be believed - clinched the second major title of his young career at Kiawah Island, an out-of-sorts Westwood missed the cut - continuing his barren run in golf's biggest tournaments.

Keen to make a change before time runs out on his major aspirations, the 39-year-old has dispensed with the services of respected coach Peter Cowen and temporary bag-man Michael Waite to try a different tack.

Westwood has worked with Cowen, a short-game expert, almost ever since he turned professional in 1993 - but severed ties due to difficulties in seeing the coach, who has a roster of other big-name clients.

"Lee needs to try something different with his chipping and putting," said Westwood's manager, Chubby Chandler. "Parting company with Pete is because he's passing on advice to Lee but he's not around to follow it through.

"Lee is very structured about going to the gym, but not about practising so when Graeme McDowell and Pete's other players are booking him, Lee is leaving it late and is having to work around them.

"Pete was at Kiawah for two days with Graeme this week when Lee wanted to work with him, so it just wasn't working out."

At the Open last month Westwood insisted he had a great short game after being questioned on it, but Chandler suggested that he no longer feels the same way.

"When you miss the cut after that, it gets even more frustrating, and that probably brought matters to a head," he added. "And Lee admits he needed to shake things up because he'd lost his focus and his enthusiasm a bit, because he wasn't getting the rewards for his long game."

Chandler added that Westwood has already identified his new coach - "not one of the usual suspects, someone a bit different" - and will begin working with them at the Barclays Championship.

Westwood's caddie change is less surprising. Waite was only on the bag on a temporary basis after Billy Foster, Westwood's friend and usual caddie, suffered a serious injury earlier in the season. With results poor a change has been made - with Alvaro Quiros' caddie Mike Kerr stepping up for the next few months, after the Spaniard accepted defeat in his bid to qualify for Europe's Ryder Cup team.

"It works out perfectly because Quiros is taking an eight-week break," Chandler said. "He put everything into trying to make the Ryder Cup, but he's accepted he's not going to make it now so he's having a long rest.

"Lee said five years ago that if he couldn't have got Billy, he wanted Mike on the bag. So with him being available, it was a no-brainer. Billy has had a setback from doing too much in his rehab, so I don't think we'll see him back before the end of the year."

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