Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are preparing to take on the USA in this year's Ryder CupGetty Images/Andy Lyons

Graeme McDowell insists Europe's Ryder Cup challenge will not be derailed by the off-the-course legal battle involving Rory McIlroy, which could see the pair's successful partnership broken up for match against the United States at Gleneagles.

McIlroy is being counter-sued by his former management company Horizon for commissions owed after the golfer started proceedings for alleged contract breaches.

But Horizon still represents McDowell, who has been involved in the ongoing case after revelations of his contract arrangements with the company were highlighted during the disclosure period.

And although the pair maintain their personal relationship has been unaffected, they were kept apart in the opening practice groups on Tuesday 23 September.

The Northern Irish pair have enjoyed a partly successful partnership together at the Ryder Cup, winning 2 ½ points from six matches at Celtic Manor and Medinah but McDowell said their style had changed since playing together two years ago.

"There's no doubt our personal issues have been well documented the last couple of years," he told a press conference on Tuesday.

"I believe we've both come out of the other end of that probably better friends than we were going into it. Our personal issues are not a problem this weekend, that's a fact.

"I think tactically, Rory and my golf dynamic has changed significantly from the first time we ever played together when perhaps [there was] the older brother-younger brother leadership role I had with him. That's changed.

"He's the world's number-one player, he's a four-time major champion. The dynamic between him and I has changed forever. He would now be the leader of the two of us and perhaps that dynamic doesn't work as well as it did in the past.

"Perhaps I am the kind of guy that needs that leadership role, or at least to feel on a level with the guy I am playing with."

European captain Paul McGinley will this week begin considering his pairings for Friday's fourballs and foursomes, with McIlroy and McDowell both expected to be involved despite the ongoing legal battle.

McIlroy could be paired with Ian Poulter while McDowell could be a consideration to play with another wildcard in Lee Westwood but the former US Open champion also admits he could sit out of the fourballs altogether.

"I've spoken to Paul McGinley about this as well because he felt himself and [Padraig] Harrington were the same way. They gelled well as a partnership in the early days and when Harrington became the star the dynamic changed from a tactical point of view and it didn't work so well," McDowell added.

"That's the way Rory and I are viewing this week. The great thing and the bad thing on our team this week is that we have so many options. The pairings aren't so obvious this week and the captain has a little bit of work to do on Wednesday and Thursday with regards to putting those teams together.

"But I would embrace the chance, possibly in foursomes, to play with Rory at some point this weekend. We're both up for it."