DUNDONALD, United Kingdom: Former golf world No.1 Lee Westwood has split from long time management company, International Sports Management (ISM) bringing to an end a relationship that lasted over two decades.
His manager Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler — who also manages 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett and South African star Louis Oosthuizen — confirmed to The Press Association Westwood has “decided to go down a different path” after 24 years together.
During that time 44-year-old Westwood — who along with close friend Darren Clarke are major shareholders in ISM — reached number one in the world and won more than 40 tournaments worldwide.
Westwood and good friend former Open champion Darren Clarke were among the first signings for the Manchester-based sports management firm when it was founded in 1991.
But with Westwood and Clarke as cornerstones ISM grew enormously signing the likes of South African major winning duo 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and then in late 2007 Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy left after a few years, but Westwood and Clarke continued to deliver ISM victories around the globe.
News of the split came as a major surprise ahead of this week’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links near Troon.
Westwood, like Clarke, is expected to eventually be appointed a European Ryder Cup Captain, with many observers expecting Westwood to take over from Thomas Bjorn for the 2020 edition in the United States.
Under ISM’s management Westwood also has won 23 European Tour titles and a further 20 victories around the globe.
His European Tour earnings from 1994, and when he first competed on the Tour for a first occasion, amount to nearly Euro 33.5m.
However, Westwood has not won since 2015 and is currently ranked No. 57 and having reached the pinnacle in May 2011.