Graeme McDowell "proud" to play alongside Rory McIlroy

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Graeme McDowell says that Rory McIlroy is the "greatest player on the planet" at the moment.

Graeme McDowell has labelled his Ryder Cup playing partner Rory McIlroy as "the greatest player on the planet".

The Northern Irishman will tee off the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club in Chicago, Illinois alongside the two-time Grand Slam champion, renewing the partnership that proved so fruitful for the European team at Celtic Manor two years ago.

The 2010 US Open champion emphasised the importance of a good start in the opening match, where they face Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker in the opening foursomes pairings.

"For me personally it is huge because I was last man out in the last match and I am first out here," said McDowell.

"I am very proud to be playing alongside my great friend and the greatest player on the planet.

"The morning session is hugely important and Jose Maria has stressed that. We know they are all important but we really feel that it is very important to make a fast start."

McDowell defeated Hunter Mahan in the final singles match at the 2010 Ryder Cup.

The Ryder Cup
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