Friday 15 December 2017

McGinley: No issue with McIlroy and McDowell

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley insists he has 'complete trust' in both Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Europe's Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley insists he has 'complete trust' in both Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Karl MacGinty

How appropriate that on a visit to St Andrews, the home of golf, Paul McGinley insisted that Europe's Ryder Cup family is not threatened by discord.

Stating that he'd no worries about Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell heading into September's showdown with the US at Gleneagles, Ireland's first Ryder Cup captain revealed that Ulster golf's brothers-in-arms will play together "at some point" during the Ryder Cup, should both make the team.

"I have no worries. I have complete trust in both of them that, if either of them has an issue, they'll speak to me. That hasn't happened and I suspect it won't happen," said McGinley.

Fears that a fallout between the two might cause headaches in the home camp arose last week when McDowell's name was brought by McIlroy's lawyers into Commercial Court proceedings between the golfer and his former management company Horizon.


"I'm just knocking that away," said McGinley. "I really don't have an issue with it; it's not going to become an issue in the team room and I won't let it become an issue in the team room. I know the guys are going to be professional enough that it won't be an issue."

Earlier this week, McIlroy bluntly dismissed suggestions that any differences with McDowell might spill over into the Ryder Cup, saying: "It's complete nonsense. I'd love to tee it up with G-Mac (at Gleneagles) and Paul knows that.

"There's obviously been a few things that have gone on that have strained the relationship," McIlroy admitted, "but I still talk to him regularly. He has stayed out of everything as much as he can. There's no ill feeling towards him from my side. G-Mac knows what is going on (with the court case). It hasn't affected our relationship in any way.

"At times, it's awkward because he's with someone (McIlroy's former agents) and I'm with someone but we are the same two people. He's been one of my best friends on Tour and showed me the ropes. I will always be grateful."

McDowell, who propelled himself firmly back into contention for an automatic Ryder Cup berth with last Sunday's victory at the Open de France, has not commented on this issue.

Inevitably, this matter arose yesterday during a media briefing given by the European captain during the 2014 Allianz Insurance Golf Camp.

"Honestly, I'm not particularly worried (about this)," McGinley said.

Asked if he'd discussed this matter either with McDowell or McIlroy recently, he replied: "I haven't, no. I'm not asking questions because I don't feel it's my business to ask questions. It's their private business and I'm not getting involved.

"I spoke to Rory last October when it was well documented that he and Graeme had a good chat for an hour in Shanghai last year. Rory said to me 'I'd a good chat with G-Mac, all is good'. And I said 'Rory, that's all I want to hear' and I haven't spoken to him about it since.

"As far as I'm concerned, that's it," he insisted. "I don't see it as a problem. I think both of them are so professional about what they do in terms of their golf and the Ryder Cup is such a special event, I really don't see a problem.

"I think my relationship with both of them is strong enough that I don't think they are going to create problems. I don't think there's an issue to address.

"When it comes to the Ryder Cup, I'm going to be professional about it and so are they," he added.

"Their dynamic as a duo has been a proven success, so I'll put this on the record: I expect them to play at least one match together at Gleneagles if they both are in the team ... Rory's certain but, even though Graeme still has a bit of work to do, obviously, chances are that he's going to be there.

"I'm not saying they're going to play every game or in the first match on Friday morning but at some stage during the week they will more than likely be partners," the captain concluded.

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