US Open: McDowell and McIlroy split on weather

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Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are back to being the best of friends, but also back to hoping for two different types of US Open at Merion.

The Northern Irish pair suffered a brief falling-out last month when McDowell confirmed McIlroy was set to split from the management group they shared.

That has been smoothed over and the Ryder Cup team-mates followed each other into the media centre to express their differing preferences for the year’s second major.

McDowell was level par in winning at a hard and fast Pebble Beach in 2010, while McIlroy was a record 16 under for his triumph at a rain-softened Congressional 12 months later.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a low-scoring US Open,” said McDowell, who was also second last year at a hard and fast Olympic Club in San Francisco where McIlroy missed the cut.

“Everyone is saying that it’s going to be 62s and 63s, which I kind of disagree with at the minute.

“There’s ten or 11 holes on this course that are as tough as any US Open I’ve seen. The last five holes, I can’t think of a tougher finish at a US Open.”

Torrential rain on Friday and Monday left parts of the course under water and McDowell added: “A firmer, faster US Open is going to suit a guy like me, who is not the longest off the tee.

“At Congressional I liked the way it was set up initially and then, by the time the rains came down, it was never going to really be my kind of US Open.”

While McDowell has won twice this season, McIlroy has been struggling for top form since his multi-million pound equipment change in January. But the world No 2 believes his iron play is “dialled in” and is looking forward to taking advantage of any similarities between Congressional and Merion thanks to the change in conditions.

Asked if his eyes lit up at the sight of the downpours, McIlroy said: “A little bit. I did not really enjoy Olympic last year. I much prefer this sort of golf when you hit a shot and it stays where you think it’s going to stay.

“It’s still pretty tight and when you hit it in the rough you are not going to make birdie from there. I expect the scores to be lower than usual in the US Open but I don’t think you will see scores like Congressional.”