NI trio eye bright start to Ryder Cup

Published Tuesday, 25 September 2012
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Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke sported bright orange outfits as they began their preparations for the Ryder Cup.

NI trio eye bright start to Ryder Cup
The local champions pose in matching orange tops. (© @DarrenClarke60)

The Northern Ireland trio were in high spirits ahead of the showdown between Europe and the USA, which will begin in three days time.

Captain Jose Maria Olazabal led them out at the Medinah Country Club outside Chicago for a practice round on Tuesday.

And in what is his first hint at how he will pair his players, McIlroy and McDowell played alongside each other, and this is expected to be the case when the competition starts.

McDowell gave a warning of what his European teammates can expect if they are to retain the trophy he so dramatically helped them claim at Celtic Manor two years ago.

The former US Open champion said: "There's a world of difference between playing in front of your home fans and playing in front of the US fans.

"Putts that drop in front of your home fans are like a bomb going off - and putts that go in this weekend will be like someone's got the silencer on. It's like a muted applause."

There's something interesting about missing a putt and having the cheers go up. That's something we are not used to as golfers, but it's something you've got to accept this week and I'm looking forward to it.

Graeme McDowell

However the Ulsterman said he thinks "the days of hostility I think are gone", but with the course set up for low scoring he added: "I think Davis (American captain Davis Love) wants birdies and eagles to get the crowd fizzed up".

Paul Lawrie was sent out for practice alongside McDowell, McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, while 2008 partners Justin Rose and Ian Poulter were with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

That left Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer, all of whom were debutants at Celtic Manor, with Belgian newcomer Nicolas Colsaerts.

McDowell hinted they may not enter the fray until the afternoon fourballs unless someone really shines in the three days of practice.

He continued: "The established partnerships are fairly obvious - myself and Rory, Poulter and Rose, Donald and Garcia, perhaps a Westwood and Lawrie.

"You can pretty much predict our first eight players Friday morning. You don't need me to tell you that.

"Will we be that predictable? Who knows?"

© UTV News
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