Graeme McDowell has denied persuading countryman Rory McIlroy to switch management companies ahead of the defence of his Andalucía Masters title.
McIlroy, previously managed by Chubby Chandler’s International Sports Management (ISM), switched to join McDowell at the Dublin-based Horizon.
“I’ve heard I’m supposed to have enticed Rory, well I purposely took a back seat in it all,” McDowell said.
“Rory makes his own decisions. I certainly wasn’t going to sway him.”
McIlroy, who won his maiden major at the US Open earlier this year having been backed by a wave of free bets following his meltdown at the Masters, said of the switch: “I am now keen to move onto the next stage of my career and I feel this will be facilitated by a fresh view and a new structure around me.”
“Chubby and his team have played a very important role in my success to date. I have made great progress under their management and for that I will always be grateful.”
McDowell meanwhile is preparing to defend the Andalucía crown he won last year at Valderama and is a free bet favourite to succeed. The Northern Irishman is hopeful of ending 2011 on a high after failing to replicate his success of 2011 which included winning the US Open, but has a “love-hate” relationship with the Spanish course he will play on this week.
“I love how special a place it is, but hate how tough it can be.” McDowell commented.
“When the wind is up, well, good luck. But I like that challenge – it’s a grafter’s course.”
He added: “Let’s see if I can finish 2011 on a high, I’m feeling fit, ready and happy with my game. I still feel a strong finish to the season is in me.”