GLENEAGLES, Scotland – European captain Paul McGinley is having second thoughts about a Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell partnership in the Ryder Cup.
Attribute that to an ordinary record, not an acrimonious lawsuit involving the two.
The Northern Irish duo has made it clear in recent weeks that McIlroy’s lawsuit against Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management – which involves allegations against McDowell – has not affected their friendship and would not be a problem at Gleneagles this week.
“Both of them have assured me all along that there’s no issue, and that’s the way I’ve always seen it,” McGinley said Monday in the opening news conference of Ryder Cup week. “Whether they come together or not is another story.”
McDowell and McIlroy are longtime friends and major champions. They have been Ryder Cup partners for all but one session dating to 2010 at Wales, though their record is hardly impressive. They have won only two of those matches and halved another.
“Three or four months ago, I had a very strong view that they would have been (partners),” McGinley said. “But the more I look at their statistics, and the more I look at the different value I have with them, I’m thinking there may be a value in not doing it. But if I don’t do it, it certainly won’t be because of any issues.
“As both of them have said, there are no issues between them and both will be happy to play together,” he said. “But it will be my decision ultimately.”
Both teams arrived on a relatively quiet day in which a haircut got most of the attention.
Rickie Fowler, a teen idol in golf circles, stepped off the U.S. charter at Edinburgh with “USA” cut into the side of his hair. Even old-school Tom Watson, the 65-year-old American captain, liked it.
“I thought it was terrific,” Watson said. “It brings a light spirit to the team.”
The Americans flew overnight as a team, and planned little more than chipping and putting Monday before getting started on their practice rounds. Watson has reminded them from his vast experience – only three American players were even born when Watson played his first Ryder Cup in 1977 – not to worry if it takes a few days for their golf games to come around.
Europe is considered a favorite, and McGinley believes it to be a badge of honor.
“The guys have worked very hard to be in the position they are,” he said.
“This is not a weak American team,” he said. “The two teams are very well balanced and very close together.”
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