Belfast Telegraph

Why Rory McIlroy no longer feels like my little brother says Graeme McDowell as pair tee up for Ryder Cup

By Ivan Little

Golf fans saw them as the perfect partnership, but Graeme McDowell has conceded that Rory McIlroy has outgrown him as a Ryder Cup partner.

With Rory now the World No.1 and the winner of four major titles, G-Mac has made it clear that he is uncomfortable not being the dominant force in the Northern Irish duo.

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The Portrush man’s comments come against the backdrop of an ongoing legal dispute over a management company involving both men — although McDowell claims their friendship has survived.

“There’s no doubt our personal issues have been well documented the last couple of years,” McDowell said.

“And I believe that we’ve both come out of the other end of that probably better friends than we were going into it. So our personal issues are not a problem this weekend, that’s a fact.”

But he added: “The older brother, younger brother thing that we had is not the same any more.

“He is a four-time Major winner and the world number one. The dynamic between the two of us may have changed for ever and maybe I need that leadership role.”

Meanwhile, McIlroy has ruled himself out of the hunt for any more major conquests… of the heart.

And the multi-millionaire from Holywood has vowed that golf will be his companion from now on. The 25-year-old, who shocked the world with his love split from tennis star fiancée Caroline Wozniacki in May, has said he's not ready for any more serious relationships at the moment.

In a BBC Northern Ireland documentary which is due to air tonight just ahead of the Ryder Cup, Rory says golf is his number one priority in the wake of breaking off his engagement to Wozniacki just after their wedding invitations had been posted.

And he says: “I am at the stage of my life where I'm putting golf first. For the foreseeable future that's what it's going to be.”

The hour-long documentary with presenter Stephen Watson features an extended interview with McIlroy and Northern Ireland's other two Major millionaires — Darren Clarke and McDowell.

Clarke talks of his contentment too at having moved back to live in Northern Ireland with his two sons Conor and Tyrone and his second wife Alison, a former Miss Northern Ireland.

  • Major Champions airs on BBC Northern Ireland tonight at 10.35

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