FORMER US Open champion Graeme McDowell fears familiar playing partner Rory McIlroy has become too good for him.
The pair stood side by side at Celtic Manor and Medinah in the last two Ryder Cups, but a strained relationship off the course recently had led Europe team captain Paul McGinley being questioned on whether he would renew the Northern Irish pair’s acquaintance at Gleneagles this week.
However McDowell, 10 years McIlroy’s senior at 35, believes they no longer compliment each other.
“The older brother, younger brother thing that we had is not the same any more,” he said.
“He is a four-time Major winner and the world No1. The dynamic between the two of us may have changed forever and maybe I need that leadership role.
“I found the betterball [fourball] format with him in Medinah very hard because he would hit it 350 yards down the middle off the tee and I would be standing over my tee shot and find myself thinking ‘there is not a lot of point in me hitting this’. It was not good for my game.
“I would embrace the chance to play foursomes with Rory though. I think everyone in the world would love to play off his tee shot.”
The Ryder Cup is eagerly anticipated in Europe and USA alike, but McDowell thinks the biennial tournament should be switched to every three years, to preserve it’s integrity.
In odd-numbered years the top players from across the Atlantic take on an international team in the Presidents Cup.
And McDowell thinks the Ryder Cup would benefit from allowing Europe’s counterparts a rest year.
“For their level of engagement they need that, because when you look at the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk who have played eight, nine, 10, 12 of these in a row, they do lose their shine.
“This event has become such a global spectacle and such a huge, emotional week, we want them to be as into it as we are.”