On his flight to Scotland ahead of this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Shane Lowry found himself reading some Ryder Cup reaction pieces in the newspaper and immediately regretted it.
As predicted by the likes of Lowry and teammate Ian Poulter, no sooner had Europe succumbed to a record 19-9 defeat that the knives came out for Captain Padraig Harrington’s leadership of the team.
Lowry captured one point from three matches for his part as a rookie and although he accepts his team were soundly beaten at the hands of Steve Stricker’s immensely talented U.S. side, he doesn’t agree with the harsh criticism being levelled at his good friend Harrington.
“The job that Paddy did is going to go unnoticed because we got beaten so badly,” Lowry said in his press-conference prior to teeing up in Carnoustie on Thursday.
“I stupidly picked up the paper on the flight up here yesterday, started to read some articles – and I just had to put it down, to be honest, because I was getting so annoyed.
“People thinking they know what went on, they know what’s gone wrong, trying to pick holes in the European Ryder Cup system. Since 1985, Europe are 12-6 up, so there’s nothing wrong with the system.
“Yes, we got a big beating. And yes, the Americans are going to be strong for years to come. But the Americans will always be strong. And the Europeans always come back. We will give it a good go in Rome.
“If we win, we win. If we don’t, it’s not because the players or captains haven’t done their best. I just don’t like it. What I’m trying to say is I’m just so disappointed for Paddy and the way his captaincy is being picked apart now. People think they know what they’re talking about, but they really don’t.”
Although Lowry revealed the post-match celebrations from both sides ended up in Europe’s team-room, as they always do, he could see the impact the result had had on Harrington in the aftermath of the defeat.
“You can see in him he’s down and it’s obviously disappointing for him,” Lowry said. “And little things – well, it’s not a little thing, it’s a big thing – like the extra half point.
“I knew about that on Saturday night, when I finished my match and the board was fully red. I was thinking, ‘Oh my God’, because I knew about the 18-and-a-half points from the K Club, I remember that. So I was just devastated for him. He’ll be fine, like, he’ll be grand. But he doesn’t deserve this.”
It prompted a question around whether Lowry would like to see the three-time Major winning Dubliner given another chance to exact revenge on the Americans.
“I don’t think he’ll want another chance himself, to be honest. It’s a tough job, especially for somebody who is trying to compete and play. There’s so much to it,” Lowry said.
“And he said when I was chatting to him about it the other day, that he wouldn’t be able to do it without the vice-captains. He just couldn’t do it without them. I’d say it’s a very tough job to take on.”
Yet as tough and all as the task of leading Europe has undoubtedly become, and after witnessing the toll it’s taken on Harrington, Lowry still has no doubt that should his play warrant consideration for future Captaincy, he would jump at the chance and take it.
“Look, I’ll need to play some good golf over the next ten or 12 years before I have my name in the hat,” he added. “But obviously some day that would be a dream, that would be amazing.”
And for all the negativity emanating from the media, Lowry’s first taste of Ryder Cup action is far from tainted. Although deep down he would’ve wished to play more, when Lowry did appear on the Whistling Straits turf, he made his presence felt. The Clara star’s performance in Saturday’s fourballs proved a rare highlight for Team Europe over the three days with Lowry confessing he had no intentions of becoming as vocal as he did on the course. He had the magic of the Cup to blame for that!
“It’s amazing because I swore to myself last week, knowing what the crowd were going to be like, I said ‘if I holed any putts, chipped in or did anything cool, I was just going to take it easy and chill’,” he said.
“I holed that putt on the fourth green for par with Rory on Friday and it just all came out of me. I didn’t understand where it came from, to be honest. I was like that all week and I have no idea where it came from. It just happened.
“For me personally, obviously 18 on Saturday was the highlight for me. We didn’t have too many highlights on the course; off the course we had the greatest week ever, it was unbelievable.”
Lowry and Harrington play together on day one at 9am on Thursday at Carnoustie.
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