‘Rory and I are great, better than ever,’ says McDowell

Partnership could be renewed in future and Ryder Cup scheduled for Medinah in 2016

As Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell left Gleneagles yesterday, one on to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Scotland's eastern seaboard and the other back home to his wife and newborn child in Florida, their relationship – once so strong but affected in recent times by on-going court proceedings involving McIlroy and Horizon Sports – had been rekindled by standing shoulder-to-shoulder in Europe's Ryder Cup victory.

“Rory and I have been through the wringer for the past two years due to the business side of things. I’m managed by the company Rory is suing. I was caught in the middle. But we’ve worked hard the last two months to patch things up and this was the icing on the cake for us. As I said to Rory . . . ‘I’m so glad we can be us again’,” said McDowell.

And, although the pair didn't play any foursomes or fourballs with each other, as they had done in previous Ryder Cup wins at Celtic Manor and Medinah, McDowell believes the partnership could be renewed at a future time. The next Ryder Cup is scheduled to be played at Medinah in 2016.

McDowell formed a powerful partnership with Victor Dubuisson, winning both of their foursomes matches, and insisted that not getting any game time with McIlroy had "nothing to do with our personal relationship . . . it was due to the fact that I crave the leadership role. Rory can play with anyone and inspire them. I crave that kind of putting my arm around a guy and getting him ready. Rory and I are great, better than ever, and that's pretty special."


McDowell – who won three from three – has matured into that leadership role and revelled in it. Paul McGinley revealed he first informed the Ulster man of his plan to use him in a big brother role with the French man only after the US PGA (won by McIlroy) last month.

McGinley was in Chicago airport returning from Valhalla when he made the phone call.

It lasted an hour, during which McGinley informed him he would get a wild card pick if needed (it was not) and that he would be assuming a leadership role with Dubuisson.

McIlroy, who is competing in the Dunhill Links where he will partner his father Gerry in the team segment, has had a magnificent season in which he has captured the British Open and the US PGA titles. Yet, he claimed that he was “up for this match [against Rickie Fowler] more than I was the final rounds of the two Majors than I won this year. It just meant so much to be part of this team.”

All of which provides an insight in the world number one’s desire to be a part of the European team, which even extended to him arranging for a Bose television with surround sound to be brought into the team room to view the inspirational videos.

The Ulster man’s schedule of late has been hectic, however he will be taking a break following the Dunhill Links Championship before heading off to China for the BMW Masters and HSBC Champions tournament in the run-up to the DP World Tour Championship, the finale to the Race to Dubai.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times