Shane Lowry couldn’t hide his annoyance about having to share this week’s BMW PGA Championship stage with 17 LIV golfers for the DP World Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth.
Lowry has remained largely tight-lipped throughout the media circus since the Saudi breakaway tour came to town. And although the Clara star would welcome some LIV players more than others given how the likes of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter have supported the tour over the years, he can’t help but feel other players have arrived to the West Course to simply cause disruption on a week that should be a celebration of European golf.
“I personally I can’t say I’m 100 percent okay with everyone being here but there’s some of the guys I kind of don’t mind them being here given what they have done for the Tour over the years,” Lowry said.
“[But] there are certain guys I just can’t stand them being here to be honest. I don’t like it that they are here. The one thing that has really annoyed me over the last few months is how disruptive they are all trying to be.
“Obviously they are here for World Ranking points somewhat but they are here to be disruptive and I don’t like it. It’s the BMW PGA Championship and BMW have been so good to us over the years and it’s all we are standing here talking about and I feel like we should be talking about how great Wentworth is and how big the tournament and now how these guys are here and don’t deserve to be here.”
This week marks the first qualifying event ahead of the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome. European Captain Luke Donald will have six picks at his disposal when deciding on his 12-man European team but Lowry, who made his debut as a wildcard last year under captain Pádraig Harrington, will leave nothing to chance this time around as he eyes revenge in Italy in 12 months’ time.
“It’s certainly one of my main goals for the next 12 months, not only to be a part of the team but go to Rome and win the trophy,” Lowry said.
“It’s something I haven’t done in my career so far, so it’s definitely something that I want to achieve and yeah, all roads lead to Rome from here for me. Obviously I want to win big tournaments and do well in big tournaments. I’d clearly love to be on that team next year.”
Lowry was asked if he’d feel comfortable being part of a locker-room that included a number of LIV golfers at next year’s Ryder Cup. With a court case still pending that will likely decide their eligibility in 2023, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter could don European blue again, and although Lowry didn’t want to go into much detail on the prospect, he did declare that he believes Team Europe’s future lies away from those players who have moved for Saudi riches.
“I can’t see how they are going to make the team so they are going to need a pick; whether Luke wants to pick them or not,” Lowry said.
“For me, I just want to be on the team. I think without those guys, we still have a good team. With all due respect to a lot of those guys over at LIV, I think they know themselves and that’s why they went to LIV. Their Ryder Cup days are probably over. Obviously they are lined up as next captains but there’s not too many of them that would have too many Ryder Cups [as players].
“Look, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is the thing, and this is the thing that actually gets to me is the unknown of it all and the uncertainty.
“To be honest, if I put myself in those guys’ shoes, would I be here this week? No, it’s too uncomfortable for me. It is what it is. Like I said it’s the BMW PGA Championship, the biggest event in Europe and we should be talking about that and we are not. It’s disappointing.”
Lowry will hope that there’s an altogether different line of questioning come Sunday in leafy Surrey where he’ll look to mount a title challenge at a Wentworth venue where he’s enjoyed four top-10s and nine top-20s in his career.
“I just love it,” Lowry said. “I think it’s got a major feel about it. It’s a tournament that I love playing and I’ve done well in the past, and I’d love to win. It’s our Flagship Event, and I’d love to put my name on that trophy with a lot of the great players.”
Lowry tees off alongside Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood at 8.45am on Thursday.
- Full tee-times HERE