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
"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
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
While suggesting a fourballs pairing with the 25-year-old McIlroy
was unlikely against the United States later this week, McDowell
stressed that a Northern Irish double act was still on the cards in
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"Rory would now be the leader of the two of us," he added.
"Perhaps I'm the kind of guy that needs that leadership role a
little bit, who needs to feel he is at least on a level with the guy
he's playing with.
"I found the better-ball format very difficult with him at Medinah a
couple of years ago because he likes to go first, I let him at it,
and I kind of come second.
"He is standing there beating it 350 yards down the middle and I put
my tee in the ground thinking there's not really a lot of point in
hitting this tee shot," said world number 18 McDowell.
"It kind of didn't help my game much at Medinah. Foursomes I think
it's different, I think we could still play foursomes really well
(Editing by Martyn Herman)
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