Europe's Rory McIlroy during the team photocall at Gleneagles Golf Course. Mike Egerton
Best of Enemies

Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy rivalry just beginning

The two 25-year-olds will be on opposite sides as Europe prepares to defend the trophy against United States at Gleneagles.

RICKIE FOWLER SAYS he is ready to embrace what shapes to be a long-standing rivalry with Rory McIlroy, ahead of the Ryder Cup.

The two 25-year-olds will be on opposite sides as Europe prepares to defend the trophy against United States at Gleneagles, starting Friday.

The pair have already endured some thrilling battles in 2014, McIlroy getting the better of Fowler at The Open Championship and the Northern Irishman also holding off his American counterpart at the PGA Championship.

Fowler, though, has never been disgraced by the world number one, and became just the third player after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to earn top-five finishes in all four majors in a calendar year.

And the American said he was hoping that he and McIlroy could develop a rivalry. “Between the two of us there’s definitely the possibility of something big developing,” Fowler said.

“It’s fun with him and I being buddies. We can still go home and play and practice together and then get to the course and want to beat up on each other as bad as possible.

“There’s a lot of good young players right now; Jordan Spieth is even younger than us. There’s Hideki Matsuyama in Japan, you’ve obviously got some guys in Europe, and Patrick Reed has played well.

“Maybe Rory and I can lead it up a little bit, but we’re going to have our hands full with some of the other guys, too.”

Fowler anticipated 2014 would not be the last time he and McIlroy faced off in the team competition.

“This definitely won’t be the last Ryder Cup we will play against each other,” he said. “I said the same thing about being in the final group with him at The Open; you know it’s not going to be the last time we go up against each other.

“So the more times we can match up and have some good battles, the better. I think him and I have the chance of going back and forth for a long time.

“I have a little catching up to do, he has got the best of me a few times. “But both times I have won [tournaments], he finished second. It has been fun. It will be fun to have a few more matches, especially at the Ryder Cup this year.”

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