McDowell denies influencing Rory

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Graeme McDowell has firmly denied reports that he played a part in Rory McIlroy’s decision to switch management teams.

Graeme McDowell has firmly denied reports that he played a part in Rory McIlroy’s decision to switch management teams.

Speaking at Valderrama, where he is currently defending his Andalucia Masters title on the European Tour, the Northern Irishman was quick to refute the suggestion that he played any part in his countryman’s decision to part ways with Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler’s International Sports Management (ISM) in favour of Conor Ridge’s Horizon stable – the same team that takes care of McDowell.

“I’ve heard I’m supposed to have enticed Rory, well I purposely took a back seat in it all,” said McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion.

“Rory makes his own decisions and doesn’t listen to anybody. I certainly wasn’t going to sway him about what to do with his career. Even if I could, he’d resent it if it didn’t work out.

“I went through the same process three or four years ago and it was very amicable. Rory’s split seems pretty amicable as well,” he added.

“That’s life, it’s business, not personal. We are one big travelling circus out here and it pays to get on with each other. I’ve never known any rifts to be catastrophic between players and management companies. It’s a long career, we’re not going to burn bridges and fall out with people.”

Now that the young superstar is at Horizon, how does McDowell feel about possibly taking a back seat to him?

“I’ve been number one but Rory is now,” he said. “I’m happy about that.”

Another of ‘Chubby’ Chandler’s clients, World No 2 Lee Westwood, was said to have called McIlroy’s decison “bizarre”, though there was no word on whether he and McIlroy discussed the issue when they were playing together as a pairing during Thursday’s first round at Valderrama.

“Bizarre is Lee Westwood’s opinion,” said McDowell. “Perhaps Rory wants a different view on things, the way his business life is run off the golf course.”

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