Lee Westwood ended his 10-year partnership with caddie Billy Foster last November, but he may have found the perfect on-course partner: His girlfriend, Helen Storey.
Two weeks after splitting with Foster, Westwood snapped a four- year winless drought when he captured the Nedbank Challenge, with Storey on the bag. Two months later, with Storey still looping, Westwood is in contention again. Through two rounds of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, he is at 10-under 134, two shots back of Shane Lowry.
“We just go out and have as much fun as we can,” Westwood told reporters. “It’s great fun out there. She keeps it very lighthearted for me.”
Though Westwood has taken more ownership of his game on the course, Storey has played an important role, too. She even helped with a read during the opening round.
“She claims to have read the 17th green correctly,” Westwood said. “She just looked me quizzically and said, ‘Is this from the right?’ It went in, so I’ll never hear the last of that.”
Westwood said he isn’t yet sure if Storey is a long-term solution. She’ll be on the bag in Dubai next week, too, but a friend and his son will also take turns looping throughout the year.
“Just going to chop and change,” he said. “More or less I caddie for myself now, with the yardages and all that. I’m very clear on that in my own mind.”
The 45-year-old Englishman has experienced a resurgence of late, after plummeting outside the top 100 in the world rankings. Dating to last fall, Westwood has finished in the top 20 in three of his past four starts, and now he’s in good position to rack up another high finish – or maybe even his second title in three starts – while making his 2019 debut.
“I didn’t feel quite so rusty coming in here,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of gym workout through the winter, although this pot belly wouldn’t suggest that. But I’m feeling pretty fit – as fit as a 45-year-old can be that’s been out here 26 years. I was keen for the season to start, and it was nice to come out and shoot a couple of good scores to kick it off in good style.”