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How Graeme won friends and admirers with his endearing honesty

By Steven Beacom

Graeme McDowell speaks well. Always has done, always will. The Portrush native may take a bit of stick about his Americanised accent, but it's what he says that counts, not how he says it.

Too often in the modern world, you listen to endless sports stars in press conferences and tend to switch off, thinking they are either talking a load of old rubbish or telling you what suits them.

Not G-Mac. He's always struck me as a bloke who tells it like it is. That was certainly the case at Gleneagles yesterday when the subject of countryman and chum Rory McIlroy inevitably cropped up.

I know the pair are linked by their homeland, how McDowell helped a teenage McIlroy learn the ropes on the European Tour and their Ryder Cup partnership, but sometimes I wonder if Graeme is asked more about Rory's golf game than he is his own.

It would be interesting to know if he would ever like a break from that topic of conversation to tell reporters that he's actually not a bad golfer himself and is worth talking about too. Major champion you know, Ryder Cup hero with numerous other tournament victories under his belt.

Of course this week, McDowell knew all too well that his relationship with Rors would once again come under scrutiny, especially on the back of the strained legal issues surrounding McIlroy and his former management company, who have worked and been mates with G-Mac for years.

He entered yesterday's press conference aware what was coming. Are they still good pals? Would they play together for Europe? That sort of thing.

McDowell said his friendship with McIlroy was stronger than ever. Nice to know.

Much more telling though was McDowell admitting that McIlroy had outgrown him as a Ryder Cup partner, in the fourball format.

What an incredibly honest thing to say. Sport is filled with more egos than you would find at an after show Oscar party, yet here was a guy speaking from the heart about now standing in the shadow of the kid who once looked up to him!

McDowell revealed that at the previous Ryder Cup he didn't feel like hitting his tee shots after watching Rory batter his ball 350 yards down the fairway adding that "it was not good for my game."

G-Mac stated: "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 us may have changed forever."

Rory won two Majors this year. Yesterday new dad Graeme won friends and admirers for speaking so candidly. If G-Mac performs as well on the course this weekend, he'll put some points on the board for Europe and captain Paul McGinley.

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