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McGinley doubtful about McIlroy-McDowell Ryder pairing

WORLD No.1 Rory McIlroy won't necessarily be paired up with fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell for Europe in the Ryder Cup.

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.

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 on Monday in the opening news conference of Ryder Cup week.

"Whether they come together or not is another story."

McDowell and McIlroy are long time 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, having 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."

McIlroy has had only one other partner in his two Ryder Cups.

He was with Ian Poulter in fourballs in the final session at Medinah two years ago, and it was memorable.

Poulter birdied his last five holes to give Europe an improbable point, and plenty of momentum that carried the side to a stunning comeback to retain the cup.

That has become a focal point for the American side.

"I made it very clear to them that this trip is a redemption trip," said American captain Tom Watson.

"Those players that played on that team, it's time to make amends and try to redeem yourselves from what happened in 2012. I think it's a motivation rather than a negative."

Europe is considered a favourite, and McGinley believes that to be a badge of honour instead of a burden.

"We have been favourites before," said McGinley, who has never been part of a losing Ryder Cup team as a player or vice captain.

"And I think our players deserved it."

Both teams arrived at Gleneagles on a relatively quiet day in which a haircut attracted most of the attention.

Rickie Fowler, a teen idol in golf circles, stepped off the US charter at Edinburgh with "USA" cut into the side of his hair.

Even old-school 65-year-old Watson liked it.

"I thought it was terrific," Watson said. "It brings a light spirit to the team."

AAP

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