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Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell friends again after Horizon spat

Updated: Thursday, 23 May 2013 07:46 | Comments

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will play alongside each other in the first two rounds of Europe's flagship event
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will play alongside each other in the first two rounds of Europe's flagship event

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell were back to being friendly rivals as the BMW PGA Championship got under way at Wentworth.

Being drawn together in the first two rounds of a tournament - along with Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Lawrie - would normally not be an issue for the Northern Irish pair.

But McIlroy revealed on Wednesday he had cleared the air with McDowell after the latter confirmed during the World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria last week that McIlroy is set to leave Horizon Sports Management to create his own management team.

The 24-year-old left International Sports Management in October 2011, just four months after winning his first major by eight shots in the US Open at Congressional, joining his good friend McDowell at Horizon.

Asked about his apparent annoyance with McDowell, McIlroy said: "Ask G-Mac. He knows more than me.

"I spoke to Graeme yesterday afternoon. We got back to the hotel and we just had a chat. Everything's good.

"I'm great friends with Graeme. He's been a real big brother to me on Tour. I remember playing practice rounds with him at the Dunhill Links, for example, back in 2007 when I got my card.

"He really showed me the ropes out here for a couple years and it's great to have good friends on Tour and he's obviously somebody that I consider a very good friend." 

As for his management situation, McIlroy added: "I can't really comment on speculation at this point. Obviously you guys know that something's up. That's fair enough. But at this point I can't really say much more."

"I'm great friends with Graeme. He's been a real big brother to me on Tour" - Rory McIlroy

Eleven of the victorious Ryder Cup team responsible for the 'Miracle at Medinah' are in the 150-strong field, with only Sweden's Peter Hanson unable to compete alongside captain Jose Maria Olazabal due to a back injury.

Luke Donald, seeking a hat-trick of victories that only Colin Montgomerie (1998-2000) has managed before, was among the afternoon starters with the first tee-time at 7am and the last at 3:40pm due to a one-tee start.

"I have to treat this as an opportunity to win another tournament, trying not to think about three in a row so much, but it would be great to emulate what Monty did," Donald said.

"I just come in with a little bit more excitement about being here because of previous results and I think that's how you gain confidence and feeling good about yourself from having done it before.

"Since the changes here the course seems to have really suited my game and I feel very comfortable around this place, so hopefully more of the same this year."

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