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Monday, January 25, 2021

Lowry taking Ryder Cup pressure in his stride

Shane Lowry is refusing to accept that he’s inviting any extra pressure on himself this season as he again repeated his burning desire to book his place on Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup team.

The reigning Open Champion has made no secret that sitting top of his list of goals ahead of the new campaign is a date at the famous biennial match-up between Europe and the USA set for Whistling Straits in Wisconsin come September. Qualifying for good friend Harrington’s team would see Lowry make his debut under the direction of the Dubliner on US soil and although from afar it looks like Lowry is inviting pressure, putting all his eggs in a Ryder Cup sized basket this term, the Clara star doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t think I am to be honest,” Lowry said, when asked if he was heaping pressure on himself. “Obviously I’ve said it a few times because that’s just what I want to do. I sat down with my team over two years ago now and I said to them at the end of 2018 – I was ranked 70-something in the world and the couple of previous seasons hadn’t been great but I started showing a bit of form – I said the only thing that’s going to make me happy over the next couple of years is playing in the Ryder Cup with Padraig Harrington.

“So yeah, it’s still one of my main goals this year of course but it’s not just that. I want to play week-in, week-out. I feel like if I can play the way I can week-in, week-out that not only can I make the team but I can be an addition to the team and we can go over there and win. I don’t think just making the Ryder Cup is good enough. You obviously want to go over there and do something special and play your part in that little piece of history. That’s just the way I am.

“I’ve always been very vocal about how I’m feeling. When I’m sitting down with any media I don’t really hold back – I speak my feelings and I speak the truth and I think that’s why a lot of people like me. Look, if I’m sitting on the plane to Wisconsin in September I know I’ll be happy whereas if I’m sitting back at home watching it on TV… to be honest I probably won’t be watching it, I’ll be off getting away from it! That’s just the way I am.”

Whether he’s feeling the pinch when the season tees off in the Middle East next week or not, Lowry has confirmed for a hat-trick of events to begin his quest for Ryder Cup qualification, knowing a good start is half the battle in the season-long points race. Omens will be strong when he returns to the UAE capital for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where Lowry’s visit to the winner’s enclosure kicked off his 2019 campaign, while he also tees up in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Saudi International in February.

Not that the Saudi event would be attract mass galleries anyway but Lowry also spoke of the challenges no crowds has presented since Covid-19 reared its ugly head, lamenting the absence of the noise that followed him around Royal Portrush for his Open win but stressing that he stores enough motivation within himself to succeed without the fanfare.

“I certainly feel that having no crowds has really taken away from the game an awful lot,” Lowry added. “In Houston they said we had 2,000 people a day there but it felt like we had a decent crowd and that was nice. It’s not been great but I can only imagine it’s the same for every sport. If you watch the Premiership, you can’t watch a match without having the sound that they put in on the TV. But that’s just the way it is, you have to get on with it.

“How do I motivate myself going forward? I’m a very motivated and very driven person. Anybody who knows me knows I’m one of the most competitive people you’d ever meet. I want to go out there every day and give it my best and be my best. At the end of the day, if that’s good enough, it’s good enough, if it’s not, it’s not. As long as I can put my head on the pillow knowing I gave it everything that day, there’s not much more you can do.”

Listen to the full podcast chat with Shane below

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