Billy Foster thrilled to be back in the old routine

Billy Foster is hoping to help Lee Westwood regain his place in the world’s top ten

Billy Foster is hoping to help Lee Westwood regain his place in the world’s top ten

First published in Sport by

Keighley-born caddy Billy Foster is relishing the chance to help Lee Westwood back to his best after the pair renewed their partnership.

The Bingley St Ives member heads out to America next week to link up again with Westwood for the new season.

The Ryder Cup star’s decision to split with Foster in November 2012 due to his long struggle with a serious knee injury had left the Yorkshireman devastated.

But the Eldwick-based bagman said it felt like they had never been apart after returning to caddy for him last month.

Foster admitted: “I was a bit apprehensive at first as I had not seen Lee for the best part of 18 months and wondered if it was ever going to be the same again.

“But as soon as we had had a good chat, it was like I’d never been away. We are on the same wavelength and have the same sense of humour.

“I really enjoy working with Lee and there’s no reason why he can’t get back to how he was playing a few years ago.”

Foster, who caddied for South African player Branden Grace last year, was alongside Westwood as he won eight times and claimed six major top-three finishes on his way to the summit of the world rankings more than three years ago.

The pair showed great chemistry on the course and their partnership was only halted by a freak injury to Foster in May 2012, when he suffered cruciate ligament damage in a football warm-up.

Westwood kept the job open for Foster but his recovery took longer than expected and Mike Kerr was eventually appointed his permanent caddy.

That was until a meeting, initiated by the golfer’s manager ‘Chubby’ Chandler, resulted in the pair becoming reunited and Foster was back on Westwood’s bag for two events before Christmas.

“We are very good friends so we are obviously going to have a close connection,” said the 2010 Masters and Open runner-up.

“I was just waiting for him (Foster) to get fit really. Obviously I had employed another caddy (Kerr), so it was only fair to him to give him a run. But it’s nice to have Billy back on the bag.”

Now the former Holy Family School pupil is hoping their special relationship on the course can help propel Westwood back up the world rankings and, ultimately, to that elusive first major title.

Foster said: “Lee is ranked in the mid-20s (No 26) at the moment but the aim is to get him back in the top ten as soon as possible.”

The caddy flies across the pond next Friday ahead of Westwood’s first competition of 2014, which is the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines starting on January 23.

It is the start of a long stretch in the States, with Westwood now playing more on the US PGA Tour after relocating his family to Florida.

“It will pretty much be America all the way until the PGA Championship (at Wentworth) at the end of May,” said Foster, who will fly back to see his family when schedules allow.

“I’m in no hurry to become a US citizen! There will be a lot of travelling but there is a lot on the European Tour anyway, when you’re going to places like South Africa, China, Dubai and Qatar. It’s just a case of west instead of east.”

After spending so long on the sidelines, Foster is just glad to be back doing what he does best.

He said: “It’s never any good being out for 15 to 18 months. I just want to get back out there and get back in the old routine. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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