Graeme McDowell: 'Relationship with Rory McIlroy has changed'

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland ponders a shot during the first round of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 19, 2014
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Talking about his relationship with Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell concedes that "the dynamic between the two of us may have changed forever".

Graeme McDowell has conceded that his relationship with his Europe teammate Rory McIlroy has altered ahead of this weekend's Ryder Cup.

The Northern Irishmen have played together on six occasions at Ryder Cups, as well as having partnered each other in the Seve Trophy and World Cup.

However, there have been suggestions over the last 24 hours that captain Paul McGinley will not double the duo up at Gleneagles, amid speculation that their relationship had become strained as a result of McIlroy's ongoing legal dispute with Horizon Sports Management, who also represent McDowell.

When asked about the situation, while McDowell admitted that the "dynamic between the two" had "changed forever" following McIlroy's ascent to the top of the world standings, he did reveal that he would still "embrace" the opportunity to play alongside his friend in the foursomes.

"The older brother, younger brother thing that we had is not the same anymore. He is a four time-Major winner and the world number one. The dynamic between the two of us may have changed forever and maybe I need that leadership role.

"I found the betterball format with him in Medinah very hard because he would hit it 350 yards down the middle off the tee and I would be standing over my tee-shot and find myself thinking 'there is not a lot of point in me hitting this' while trying to throw everything into it. It was not good for my game.

"I would embrace the chance to play foursomes with Rory. I think everyone in the world would love to play off his teeshot. But I have spoken to McGinley about this and he had something similar with Padraig Harrington when he became the star and it changed their partnership."

In this morning's practice session, McIlroy was partnered by Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia, while McDowell was joined by Victor Dubuisson and Henrik Stenson.

Who will win the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles?

Europe
Draw (Europe retains)
USA
Europe
68.0%
Draw (Europe retains)
8.0%
USA
24.0%
Ian Poulter of Europe celebrates with his caddie Terry Mundy after making birdie on day two of the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah on September 29, 2012
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