European captain Paul McGinley has already spoken of the possibility of keeping the Northern Irish duo apart, despite the pair having played six matches together over two Ryder Cups at Celtic Manor in 2010 and Medinah two years ago.

Lending weight to McGinley's suggestion is their record of producing just two-and-a-half points from those contests.

Ahead of the latest Ryder Cup duel with United States at Gleneagles, McDowell believes an amicable split could be for the best as there has been a change in dynamic in their partnership.

"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 said.

"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."

McDowell, though, did suggest that there was a possibility the two could still link up, particularly in the foursomes.

"I'll be the first to admit at Medinah a couple of years ago, and Rory and I have spoken about this, I found the better ball format very difficult," he added.

"He likes to go first, I let him at it, and then I go second. He hits it 350 yards down the middle and I put my tee down thinking there's not a lot of point me hitting this tee-shot.

"I stand there throwing myself at it and it didn't help my game much playing better-ball with him.

"Foursomes I think is a bit different. I think we can still play foursomes pretty well together. I love playing off his tee shot, as anyone would. 350 down the middle works anywhere, any week.

"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."