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'I've no concerns over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell's relationship ahead of Ryder Cup' says Paul McGinley

By Phil Casey

European captain Paul McGinley insists he has no concerns over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell's relationship ahead of next week's Ryder Cup.

The Northern Irish pair have played together six times in the last two contests but are currently involved, directly and indirectly, in a court case with McIlroy's former management company.

McIlroy's legal battle with Horizon Sports Management also involves the affairs of McDowell and the judge hearing the case said on Tuesday it involved such sensitive matters that the sides should engage in mediation.

"The case has all sorts of sensitivities involving two players on tour, a manager of one of them and a former manager or agent of the other. It has all sorts of complex issues involving relationship matters," Mr Justice Brian McGovern told both legal teams.

However, McGinley believes the issue has been dragging on for so long that it will have no effect when the pair help Europe defend the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

"It's not a concern," McGinley told a press conference ahead of the ISPS Handa Wales Open. "It has been going for a year and both have had very strong years.

"Rory's had arguably his best year ever (winning two major championships) and Graeme won the French Open. It has not affected their performance and both of them have assured me it's not going to affect anything in the team room.

"I would be very surprised if they don't play together although I'm not going to write it in stone."

McGinley said he has a "skeleton plan" in place for his pairings and is happy with the different preparation methods of his team. Jamie Donaldson, Lee Westwood, Stephen Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn are competing at Celtic Manor and McGinley will have dinner with them on Tuesday evening, when he will hand over a booklet with information and pictures of what to expect in terms of infrastructure at Gleneagles.

McGinley "endorsed" Victor Dubuisson's decision to withdraw from the tournament and prepare in France, with the players involved in the latter stages of the FedEx Cup play-offs having a rest.

"I'm delighted the guys who played in America are having a week off," the Dubliner said. "We did not have that in Medinah and I think we suffered. Graeme McDowell has gone on record saying he felt unprepared physically and mentally."

The course at Celtic Manor has been set up to replicate the challenge posed by Gleneagles, where McGinley said the three rookies on his team - Dubuisson, Donaldson and Gallacher - will definitely play at least one match before the singles.

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