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Lee Westwood splits from coach Sean Foley

The Englishman worked with Foley – the Canadian who guided Justin Rose to his first major last year – for less than six months before deciding that, despite finishing third at last year’s Open, he did not need a rebuild as much as a reprise. He was helped in this regard by his caddie Billy Foster, who returned to his bag in November after an 18-month break.

“When Billy looked at his game he noticed that his short game had improved immeasurably in their time apart, but that his long game had gone backwards. They want to get it back to the point where it was a few years ago when it got him to the top of the rankings.”

Westwood revealed to Golfweek that “he had something in the pipeline” as far as a new coach goes, but until that becomes official he and Foster will continue to study the old videotapes. “I just wanted to work on swing positions and stuff like that a bit more,” Westwood said. “I didn’t feel 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 No 1 . . . 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.”

Westwood is playing in this week’s Northern Trust Open at the famed Los Angeles layout of Riviera, alongside countrymen such as Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. Also in the field is Westwood’s former Ryder Cup partner Darren Clarke. “They have been playing practice rounds and reminiscing this last week or so at Old Palm,” Chandler said, referring to Westwood’s home course in Florida. “They’ll be good for each other over there, as Darren is playing more on the PGA Tour this season.”

Meanwhile, on the European Tour, Rhys Davies gave a reminder of his talent shooting a seven-under 64 in the first round of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club. The Welshman, who has dropped from 45th in the world in 2010 to 478th, is two behind the leader, the Portuguese Ricardo Santos.

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