NI golfers Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell deny rift

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Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell say they have cleared the air amid reports of a rift between the pair and speculation that McIlroy is to change his management company.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have denied a rift amid reports that McIlroy is to leave Horizon Sports Management to create his own management group.

"There has been a lot of speculation but it's not something I can comment on," said McIlroy of his possible move.

"Graeme and I are great friends - he's maybe said a few things I wasn't happy with but we had a chat and all is OK."

"It seems like the rumours are correct and Rory will be leaving to do his own thing," said McDowell on Wednesday.

"I'll be disappointed to see him go but my relations with Rory are fine - I'll leave it for Rory and Horizon to sort out," added the world number seven from Portrush.

McIlroy denied speculation at the recent Players Championship that he would create his own team with his father, close friends and associates, but McDowell said during the World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria that the world number two had decided on his second management change since October 2011.

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

"I'm here to try and stay on point and talk about golf," McIlroy told a press conference ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"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."

Asked about his apparent annoyance with McDowell, McIlroy said: "Ask G-Mac. He knows more than me. I spoke to Graeme on Tuesday 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."

McIlroy and McDowell have been paired together for the first two rounds of this week's flagship event of the European Tour.