Ahead of this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links, Shane Lowry has put the blinkers on in his bid to make the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits his debut appearance at the tournament.
The Open Champion has revealed that his schedule for the 2019/20 season has already been ironed out with each tournament meticulously planned to ensure he boards the plane as part of Padraig Harrington’s Team Europe in 12 months’ time.
“We’ve already done my schedule for the next 12 months and it’s solely focussed around trying to make the Ryder Cup team,” Lowry said.
“To be honest, it’s going to be very similar to my schedule this year. Not much has changed. I’m not going chasing anything. The fact that I’m Open Champion means I’ve quite a lot of opportunities to go chasing but my main focus is to make that team.
“That’s my goal for the year and it’s nice to have something long term like that so I can just get on with the bad days and the good days and see where it leaves me in the end.”
The beauty of Lowry’s historic win at Royal Portrush is that the need for “chasing” is no longer there. Having tried to juggle PGA Tour and European Tour commitments before eventually losing his card in America in August of 2018, the Clara star has learned the lessons of taking on too much and recognises the privileged position that his return to Europe has bestowed upon him.
“I think world golf in general has become incredibly competitive and for someone who’s not in the top-50 in the rankings and not in all the big tournaments, like I was, it’s just too hard to keep your card on both tours,” he admitted.
“You’re playing 15 or 20 events on the PGA Tour which in my opinion, is probably not enough to try, year in year out, compete at the highest level over there. I learned a lot from over there though. I feel I now know what sort of schedule suits me.
“Although I will be playing across both Tours, I’ve got my exemption now. I’ve got five years in America and 10 years in European and I’m definitely in all those big tournaments to compete at that level so I’m in a great place now.”
Still, as a Major Champion, questions naturally turn to whether or not Lowry could etch his name on another coveted crown. With opportunity abound, he could feasibly adopt a Brooks Koepka approach and attempt to peak around the Majors but that’s not something Lowry envisages happening in his career any time soon.
“The one thing that struck me afterwards when you’re sitting down and reading the names on the trophy is that I feel incredibly lucky that I achieved that, especially where I did it and how I did it, because you couldn’t have scripted it any better yourself if you wrote a story,” he added.
“I’ve always said that I’m not a player who bases my year around Majors or peaks for Majors. I try to come in, play as best as I can and see where it leaves me and that’s what I did at Portrush and it worked.
“I’ve some goals going forward that I really want to achieve as well as hopefully winning more tournaments but right now my focus is on trying to win the Race to Dubai this year and trying to get on the Ryder Cup team next year and hopefully I can pop–up in a few Majors between now and then as well.”
Lowry tees off on Thursday at Carnoustie alongside Justin Harding at 9.00am.