Shane Lowry will return from his winter break hell bent on booking his seat on the plane to Wisconsin for the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
The reigning Open champion admits that a place on Captain Padraig Harrington’s European side takes precedent over any other goals next year. The 33-year old has yet to feature at the biennial team event between Europe and the United States but begins his quest to make it amongst a star-studded field at the Saudi International in February where a bucket load of Ryder Cup points are on offer to kick start his season.
“I haven’t got my full schedule but I’m going to start off in the Middle East and try and pick up some Ryder Cup points – that’s my number one goal for the next seven or eight months,” Lowry told the Off The Ball Bernard Brogan Podcast.
“I’ll get back to the States early February and kick off my season over there then. I’m already looking forward to it. I’m taking a few weeks off golf now but I’m trying to train as much as I can and get ready for what 2021 is going to bring. But Ryder Cup is the big thing for me. I’ve been very vocal about it – not shy of saying it – and I’m probably putting pressure on myself to make it but I think if I do everything I can and play as well as I can, I should make the team – that’s just the confidence I have in myself.”
The proud Offaly man has grown up an avid GAA supporter and togged out on the football field long before a future in golf ever looked likely. And it’s amongst those team environments that Lowry believes he would excel, admitting he often looks on with envy as players from other codes celebrate victories together, an opportunity few and far between in the often lonely world of professional golf.
“I’m very lucky to have the job I do and the living I do from it but I see teams and the enjoyment people have after winning something – even just the day-to-day training and the craic they have being together all the time – I think I’d love that,” Lowry admitted.
‘I’d love to get that, even if it’s just one week every two years, it would be pretty cool to have that and I think I would thrive in that environment. Hopefully Padraig is listening,” he laughs. “I’m just trying to put my best foot forward here! But no, I think I’m good enough to make the team and good enough to play so I’ll give it my best for the next seven or eight months and hopefully I’m on that plane to Wisconsin.”
If Lowry can replicate some of the form of his Open Championship win at Royal Portrush, then the Clara star should be a shoe-in for Whistling Straits. Golf doesn’t work like that, of course, but whatever the fairways throw his way in the new year, Lowry can rest easy safe in the knowledge that no matter how great the challenge – or the pressure – he knows he can handle it.
“In my personal opinion – people might disagree with me but this is just my opinion – I don’t think that I’ll be put in a more high pressure situation than that for the rest of my career,” he said of his six-shot victory on the Dunluce Links last year.
“Going out with a four shot lead in the final round of The Open, in your home country, with however many thousand people there… you know, if I didn’t win that day, it would’ve been a serious let down so it can only give me confidence going forward. I don’t think I’m a different golfer or a different person but I’m more of a confident person going forward.
“I haven’t had the season I would’ve like this year but that’s golf – I’ve had average seasons and bad seasons in the past and I know that every year is going to be different but as long as I’m comfortable in everything I do and give it 100%, there’s nothing more I can do.”