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Graeme McDowell admits partnership with Rory McIlroy has run its course

By Robert Jones

The Ryder Cup pairings have yet to be announced but one thing is certain: Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell won't be one of them.

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McDowell ended all speculation about that yesterday during an emotional press conference, when he all but admitted that fellow Ulsterman McIlroy has outgrown him as a Ryder Cup partner.

G-Mac used to be a mentor to the younger McIlroy and, as a recently-crowned US Open champion, guided the younger golfer through the 2010 triumph at Celtic Manor.

But McIlroy has won four Majors since then, and is the current world number one; that, according to McDowell, has changed everything with regard to their partnership.

The pair's close relationship has also been tested by a legal wrangle with their former management company, but McDowell, 35, insisted a split would be for golfing reasons.

"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 number one. The dynamic between the two of us may have changed forever – and maybe I need that leadership role."

McDowell said that although the ongoing court case strained his relationship with McIlroy, the pair are still good friends.

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