Westwood to keep Kerr as permanent caddie as Foster rehabs injured knee

Billy Foster and Lee Westwood at the 2012 Masters
Getty Images
Caddie Billy Foster has been alongside Lee Westwood for many of his near-misses in majors.
PGA.com news services

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012 | 12:33 p.m.

LONDON -- Lee Westwood has decided not to use his longtime caddie Billy Foster next season as the fourth-ranked golfer looks to end his long wait for an elusive major title.

Westwood will stick with Zimbabwe native Mike Kerr, who has filled in as caddie since August while Foster recovers from a cruciate knee injury he sustained in May before a charity soccer match.

"To get the call from Lee just as I was starting to see the light again was unbelievably disappointing," said Foster, who is also a good friend of Westwood on Friday

The move continues a year of upheaval for Westwood, who split with coach Pete Cowen in August. Kerr is the third caddie Westwood has used since Foster's injury.

Next year's Masters in April will be Westwood's 60th attempt at a major win.

Foster, like Westwood an Englishman, worked for Westwood during his rise up the ranking, but has needed two operations on his knee.

"It's been very difficult these last six months -- I've been in a dark tunnel," Foster said. "I've only started walking again these last two weeks.

"We had such a laugh together, have been great mates and were very successful, but it's a tough game for caddies and I've just to focus on getting myself right," he added. "I'm a strong character and I'll be fine -- I know I will be -- but all this because of a freak accident. I wasn't even playing in the game when it happened."

Foster chose not to be part of a caddie team playing against a local team in North Carolina, but was there to watch and went on the pitch during the warm-up.

"My foot went in a hole and you could hear the crack 20 yards away," he said

Kerr linked up with Westwood in August after his missed cut at the PGA Championship, which also resulted in him parting company with Cowen.

"Lee is at that stage of his career where he has to be a little bit selfish," Westwood's manager Andrew "Chubby" Chandler told the Daily Mail newspaper in England. "Billy hopes to be fit enough at the start of next year to caddie for one week and then have one week off, but Lee is playing six tournaments in a row starting in Dubai next February."

As soon as he proves he is fit again, Foster should be much in demand. His previous bosses include Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and even Tiger Woods at the 2005 Presidents Cup when Steve Williams was unavailable.

Westwood was back as a member of the PGA Tour in the United States this year and has now taken the extra step of moving his family to Florida as he approaches his 40th birthday.