8am Round-Up: Lee Westwood not ‘unsettled’ by management split

Lee Westwood talks to reporters at Royal Birkdale in the build up to the 146th Open Championship. Picture: Getty Images
Lee Westwood talks to reporters at Royal Birkdale in the build up to the 146th Open Championship. Picture: Getty Images
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Lee Westwood insists he has not been “unsettled” heading into this week’s Open Championship by his shock management split.

It emerged last week that the former world No 1 had ended his 24-year relationship with Chubby Chandler after leaving International Sports Management.

Speaking at Royal Birkdale in the build up to the 146th staging of the R&A’s showpiece event, Westwood wouldn’t comment on that due to it being a “personal matter”.

He also refused to confirm whether or not he was about to join IMG, saying that “rumours are unavoidable in any walk of life”.

But the Edinburgh-based player is confident that his current off-course situation will have no effect whatsoever what he does on the golf course this week.

“The Open Championship is the best tournament of the year,” he said. It’s in England. Birkdale is probably best links courses in Britain and it will be great to play in front of British crowds.

“Hopefully the weather will stay like this as there are normally memorable Opens when the weather is fantastic and I’m looking forward to playing well hopefully.

“I’m not unsettled. I’m pleased with how my swing is. I’m pleased with how I’m putting is good. My short game is good and I’ve played well along this coast before.”

Asked if he might find it difficult to concentrate following the split from Chandler, who was also a close friend, he added: “No, I don’t think so. I’m pretty good at focussing.”

Westwood is due to play a practice round at Birkdale today with Darren Clarke, who is Chandler’s other long-time star client.

“No,” he replied when asked if his relationship with Clarke had changed as a result of him leaving Chandler’s stable. “Myself and Darren are still good mates.”

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Rory McIlroy has still not fully recovered from the rib injury that has hampered his 2017 campaign.

“I am feeling okay, but it is something I am going to have to manage until the end of the year,” said the four-time major winner in the build up to this week’s Open at Royal Birkdale.

“It is good enough to play, it is good enough to practise a little bit.

“I am just going to manage the load for the rest of the season, then I am just going to have a nice rest period when I don’t have to touch a club and let it heal.

“Then, hopefully, I’ll be 100 per cent for next year.

‘It’s not as if I’m far off now, but it is just something I need to be mindful of for now.”

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Tiger Woods has dropped out of the world’s top 1,000 for the first time in his career.

The long-time world No 1, currently sidelined after multiple back surgeries over the past few years, is down to 1,005th in the latest rankings.

Woods last played in the Farmers Insurance Open in January, when he failed to make the cut.

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Sally Watson was among four Scots to pass the pre-qualifying test for the upcoming Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns.

The former Curtis Cup player progressed to the final qualifier at the Castle Course in St Andrews on 31 July after carding a one-under 71 to share 10th spot in yesterday’s 18-hole shoot-out at Hankley Common.

Heather MacRae (72), Laura Murray (73) and Jane Turner (75) were also among the 35 qualifiers.

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Newly-crowned Scottish Girls’ champion Hannah Darling got off to a promising start in the Scottish Under-16 Girls’ Open Stroke-Play Championship at Mortonhall.

She opened with a four-over-par 77 at the Edinburgh course to sit joint-fifth alongside another rising home start, Gullane’s Grace Crawford.

English duo Alexandra Stevenson (Beamish Park) and Thalia Kirby (Harleyford) set the pace with matching 73s.