August 24, 2014

PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) Graeme McDowell wasn't kidding when he said he had a lot on his mind at The Barclays.

The former U.S. Open champion and Ryder Cup star announced Sunday evening that he was leaving Horizon Sports Management at the end of the year and will start managing his own business affairs.

McDowell said Ireland-based Horizon ''surpassed my highest expectations'' in his seven years with the management company.

''I am at a stage in my life where it feels right to move on to the next phase of my career, both in golf and business,'' McDowell said in a statement. ''I'm now involved with a growing number of exciting business ventures, many of which Horizon helped me establish, and as the landscape evolves so must I.''

McDowell closed with a 72 on Sunday and tied for 38th at The Barclays. He headed home to Orlando, Florida, where his wife was to give birth to their first child Monday morning. He is taking next week off during the FedEx Cup playoffs.

''I've had a lot on my mind this week,'' he said when he finished his round. ''I don't think mentally I was ready for this tournament.''

He said he would get choked up if he kept talking about the impending birth of his daughter, and just at that moment, a baby began crying.

''That's how I'll be tomorrow morning,'' McDowell said.

The 35-year-old from Northern Ireland holds the ninth and final spot for Europe's Ryder Cup team with one week remaining to qualify. Stephen Gallacher of Scotland could pass him with a two-way tie for second in the Italian Open this week. If that happens, McDowell is likely to be a captain's pick, though he would prefer to make the team.

''I hope Stephen goes and does the job,'' McDowell said. ''He's had a great year. The Ryder Cup being in Scotland, I wouldn't begrudge him a spot on the team.''

The departure from Horizon was amicable, though there were no indications that McDowell was about to handle his own affairs. Rory McIlroy left Horizon a year ago in a split that has turned into a battle over fees and is still to be resolved in an Irish court early next year.

McDowell praised Conor Ridge, the CEO of Horizon, and said they would remain close.

''We wish Graeme well for the rest of his golf career and in his future commercial ventures,'' Ridge said. ''His innate business acumen will serve him well as he manages his own affairs in the years ahead.''

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