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McIlroy, McDowell case a nonissue

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- The court case that has simmered in the background in recent months will not keep Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell from being paired as partners for the European team during the Ryder Cup.

Those are the wishes of McDowell, whose management company Horizon is being sued by McIlroy; both golfers' representatives were told by an Irish court recently to try to settle the matter.

For what it's worth, European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley said Monday that the legal issues would not keep the two golfers from Northern Ireland from being put together when the event begins Friday.

"It's not an issue, and it's not been an issue for me in terms of Ryder Cup captaincy since these court proceedings started," McGinley said at a captains' news conference to kick off Ryder Cup week. "Both of them have assured me all along that there are no issues, and that's the way I've always seen it. Whether they come together or not is another story."

McDowell has said that the two Northern Irishmen have seen their relationship "strained" over the legal proceedings that started when McIlroy left Horizon last year.

"It's been a rough time over the last couple of years on the business side of things for both me and Rory because [he] has been involved with a lawsuit with my management company," McDowell said in a blog post he wrote for the BBC. "And it certainly has put a stress on our relationship, but we have put those things behind us this year. If anything, our friendship has been strengthened by what we have experienced. We have talked about it, and we would certainly love to renew our partnership again."

McDowell and McIlroy met three weeks ago for dinner at the BMW Championship in Denver to try to avert any issues. Last week, a judge in Dublin suggested to both sides that they enter into mediation; a trial date is set for February.

"Who wouldn't want to team up with the guy who has played the best golf all summer?" McDowell said. "There would be a queue out of the door of players wanting to partner [with] Rory, and absolutely I would be among them."

McIlroy and McDowell have been paired together six times over the past two Ryder Cups, posting a 2-3-1 record.

"I've got lots of options with them," McGinley said. "But if I don't decide to play them [together], it would be for tactical reasons. It won't be for any other reasons. They have played six Ryder Cup matches and have only won two together."

European players were arriving throughout the day at Gleneagles, where both teams will stay during the week.

The American team arrived on an overnight charter Monday morning and was at Gleneagles by midday. U.S. captain Tom Watson, 65, will be the oldest in Ryder Cup history and is getting his second stint in the role, having been the last U.S. captain to win overseas when the Americans won 15-13 at the Belfry in 1993. Since then, the U.S. has won the Ryder Cup just twice, falling 14½-13½ two years ago when the Europeans staged a huge final-day comeback -- a big theme for Watson this week.

"I made it very clear to them that this trip is a redemption trip," Watson said. "Those players that played on that team, if any players are on this team, it's time to make amends and try to redeem ourselves for what happened in 2012. I think it's a motivation rather than a negative."