McDowell Claims Relationship With McIlroy Changed Significantly Amid Legal Issues

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May 4, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Rory McIlroy tees off on the fourth hole during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
May 4, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Rory McIlroy tees off on the fourth hole during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. Reuters

Graeme McDowell revealed that his Ryder Cup relationship with the world's no. 1 Rory McIlroy has changed forever. The duo was regular partners in team events since 2009, where they have won three out of four matches and they also represented Ireland in the World Cup in 2009 and in 2011, but their relationship were stained by the recent unpleasant business dealings.

Rory McIlroy is in the middle of a legal battle against his former management company, Horizon Sports that allegedly offered his Ryder Cup teammate, McDowell a more favourable contract terms, although he was promised to receive the same deal. Although McDowell reiterated in his BBC column that these legal disputes had made his relationship with the world's no. 1 stronger, he conceded things had changed on the golf course.

"There's no doubt our personal issues have been well documented the last couple years and I believe that we've both come out of the other end of that probably better friends than we were going into it," McDowell told reporters on Tuesday.

He went on to explain that their golf dynamic has changed significantly, relative to how they were when they first played together in 2009. According to McDowell, the older brother and younger brother sort of leadership role has changed, hinting that it was because McIlroy had already won four major titles and is now the world's no. 1. McIlroy now leads the duo and the new dynamic does not work as well as it did in the past.

One reason that might hinder the two to tee it up together this week is that neither of them wants the other to take charge. But then again, the chemistry can be less important than the stellar record of the twosome in the Ryder Cup. McDowell revealed that he is ready to team-up with whoever captain Paul McGinley chooses to play with him that includes his partner during the last two Ryder Cups -- Rory McIlroy.