McDowell hints at fourballs break-up with pal McIlroy

Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:09am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell has given a strong hint that his Ryder Cup fourballs partnership with world number one Rory McIlroy is a thing of the past.

There has been much media speculation suggesting the two Northern Irish friends are not as close as they were, mainly because of the court case surrounding McIlroy's split from the Horizon management camp the pair once shared.

McDowell said that, if anything, there was more warmth between them now and any break-up on the course will be simply down to the fact they have evolved as individual players since the duo first formed their Ryder Cup partnership four years ago.

"There is no doubt our personal issues have been well documented over the last couple of years," the 2010 U.S. Open champion told a news conference on Tuesday.

"I believe we've both come out of the other end of that probably better friends than we were going into it. Our personal issues are not a problem, that's a fact.

"I think tactically Rory and I's golf dynamic has changed significantly from the first time we ever played together," said the 35-year-old McDowell.

"The older brother to younger brother leadership role I had with him, that's changed. He's the world's number one player, he's a four-time major champion, the dynamic between him and I is changed forever."

Europe captain Paul McGinley sent his players out to practice in four groups of three on Tuesday, with McDowell accompanying French rookie Victor Dubuisson and world number five Henrik Stenson of Sweden.   Continued...

Aug 21, 2014; Paramus, NJ, USA; Graeme Mcdowell hits his approach shot on the 16th hole during the first round of The Barclays golf tournament at Ridgewood Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY