Gleneagles - Europe captain Paul McGinley is considering separating Northern Irish
duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell for the Ryder Cup's opening
fourballs at Gleneagles on Friday morning.
The Irishman sent his
12 players out in four groups of three at the PGA Centenary Course on
Tuesday morning and the two were kept apart.
World number one
McIlroy went out with Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia. McDowell was with
Henrik Stenson and French rookie Victor Dubuisson.
revealed that he had asked retired Manchester United manager Alex
Ferguson to give a motivational speech to his players, said that his
starting line-up was taking shape.
"I've got an eye on potential
partnerships over the next two days as well as today, and I'm playing
guys with guys they could be partnered with and you'll see that tomorrow
and the day after and it will give you some ideas to the way I'm
going," he said.
McIlroy and McDowell have been regular partners
in team events since 2009, winning three of their four matches in the
Seve Trophy and also representing Ireland in the World Cup that year and
The Northern Irish duo have also played six times together
in the Ryder Cup, including the opener at Medinah two years ago, and
were thought to be a logical opening pairing at Gleneagles.
McGinley said that their record of two wins, three losses and one half
from those six matches meant they were not a formidable pairing "written
Furthermore, McDowell said that McIlroy's elevation
this year to superstar status had changed the dynamic between the two
forever and he expressed a clear wish to be handed the job of "blooding"
Elsewhere, the established English duo of Justin Rose
and Ian Poulter played together along with Scottish rookie Stephen
Gallacher and Ryder Cup veterans Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn had Welsh
rookie Jamie Donaldson for company.
Westwood, who needed a wildcard pick to get into the team, said he was impressed with the strength in depth the Europeans had.
"Well, I've played on some strong ones, but I tell you, this is right up there. It's equally as strong," he said.
got a lot of very good world-class players. Pretty much, with the
exception of maybe one, all the big tournaments this year have been won
by Europeans and people on this team.
"We are in a pretty good
position. We're confident without being complacent and looking forward
to the week and showing how good we can play and coming together as a
On the American side, skipper Tom Watson chose to send out
his players in three groups of four, making a forecast of pairing
selections more of a lottery.
Still, he had Phil Mickelson and
Keegan Bradley, who won all three of their matches at Medinah, together
as well as close friends Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson.
American rookies were all in different groups as were Watson's three
captain picks -- Simpson, Bradley and Hunter Mahan.
65-year-old, eight-time major champion is hoping to revive US fortunes
in the biennial team showdown with Europe, having been at the helm the
last time the Americans won in Europe in 1993.
He admits, though, that the task will be tough against a team that boasts four of the six top-ranked players in the world.
favourites are concerned, the media, the people that look at the teams,
they look at Rory McIlroy, they look at Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.
The European team is loaded," he said.
"But when the matches
start at 7:35 on Friday morning, there's going to be quality of play
going on. We'll just see who wins. I know our team is totally committed
to bringing the Cup back.
"I know that. And I'm going to do everything in my power to help them do that and set the stage for them."