The deadly duo

The temperature is rising at Medinah, says Pugh

Last Updated: 26/09/12 4:25pm

Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy: to reprise partnership

Sky Sports' Denis Pugh gives his verdict on the big issues as the countdown to the Ryder Cup continues in Chicago.

"The Europeans were going 15 and the Americans 12 and for the first time you could feel a bit of buzz. You could see their handshakes were not as warm as usual."

David Pugh

Quotes of the week

Pugh told Sky Sports News what he thinks of pairing Rory McIlroy with Graeme McDowell together; the challenges of the course; the US team targeting McIlroy; the form of his charge Francesco Molinari and the atmosphere building at Medinah Country Club.

DEADLY DUO

"Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell is a pairing that you will put your whole house on really. Those two better play well! Obviously they are the players with most experience; number one in the world and a US Open champion. It is a pretty strong pairing for may be foursomes as well as four balls."

NO ROUGH RIDE

"It is just a little bit a longer fairway really. It is not like a US major championship where the rough is a big problem. Here if you hit it off line your major problem is the trees. The trees are here there and everywhere. But if you get behind the trees you have a shot because you have a decent enough lie to work the ball."

GET RORY

"There are 12 marked men out there really. Everyone's points are worth the same. They are just thinking Rory is the number one in the world and he is the player that every American would like to play and get a point off of. But there are 12 marked men on each side."

FRANCESCO ON FORM

"He is on pretty good form. He is hitting it the ball well, probably much better this year than two years ago, and also coping well with the fact that it is the Ryder Cup. It is easier the second time. The rookies do feel the pressure in their first one and it is only mounting as we go through today and by Friday it will be that cauldron that they all talk about."

BUZZ IS BUILDING

"Everyone is saying it is even. It is very difficult to call but the American team have a lot of confidence and they are at home - that's a big factor. Much has been made of the crowd but they were quiet yesterday. An American crowd behind American players is a tough job for the European team to do.

"There was a little point yesterday when the two teams met on the 15th and 12th tee. The Europeans were going 15 and the Americans 12 and for the first time you could feel a bit of buzz. You could see their handshakes were not as warm as usual."