Paul McGinley expects Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry to form powerful Ryder Cup partnership

Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley believes an all-Irish double act of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry could be unveiled when the Ryder Cup gets underway on Friday.

European captain Pádraig Harrington named McIlroy's fellow Irishman Shane Lowry as one of his captain's picks for the showdown that will take place at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin.

Speaking at a Sky Sports event, Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup-winning skipper McGinley suggested McIlroy thrives when he is paired with a big-name partner and he believes Lowry could fit the bill.

"Rory loves being the centre of attention and you put him out there with a big-name partner," said McGinley.

"McIlroy is not a guy you hide in your team. He is one of the guys you want to see leading and he could play with Shane Lowry.

"I wouldn't generally put Rory with a rookie as I feel he thrives alongside another big name, which is why I paired him with Sergio Garcia in 2014.

"Yet I don't see Shane as a rookie, even though this will be his first Ryder Cup.

"He is a major champion, a top player, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Rory playing with Shane."

McIlroy has not won a major championship since 2014 and is heading into the Ryder Cup on the back of a year lacking tournament wins, but McGinley is convinced he will rise to the challenge.

"We are not seeing the dominance we saw from Rory a few years back, but there is a reason for that," continued McGinley.

"The quality of players we have at the top of the game has moved up a few notches and there is a lot more of them now.

"They have all moved up to play the kind of game that he used to be the only one playing, which is long and straight off the tee.

"But we all know that Rory loves the Ryder Cup and he has had a lot of dialogue with Pádraig over the last few months and the word is he is ready to step up his game to take on the Americans.

"Rory is a leader in this Ryder Cup team because he is a very good player and he is also very popular with the rest of his team-mates.

"He's an easy personality to have around and I remember as a young member of the Ryder Cup team myself, you look around the room and look at Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Ozalabal and it's not just what they say in the team environment, it is their body language.

"These guys have been there and seen it all in golf and having them on your team gives you comfort.

"The senior guys in any Ryder Cup team are so important and Rory is very much part of that."

McGinley also suggested Lowry was an 'easy pick' for captain Harrington, as he backed the 2019 Open champion to justify his selection.

"I wouldn't say Shane was always going to be a pick, but the way he has performed in the last three months swayed it for him," he added.

"He has been one of the leading European players on the American tour and he was worthy of a pick on the back of that.

"He should also be perfectly suited to the course we will be playing this Ryder Cup on, so it wasn't a difficult selection, in my opinion.

"I know Pádraig took a long time before he made these final picks. He was in there for two hours at least deliberating over who he would pick, but I don't think Shane was the reason for the delay."

Watch all three tournament days of the Ryder Cup live, archive footage and more on Sky Sports' dedicated Ryder Cup channel

READ MORE: Tony Jacklin's Ryder Cup journey: From no ropes on the fairways to stadium golf

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