Shane Lowry admits he’d give himself a high grade for his performances this past year but that’s not to say he doesn’t think he can better his achievements in 2023.
Lowry accepts that winning the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 2019 will be a hard feat to surpass in his career but his consistency this past term was right up there with that Major winning season.
On the PGA Tour alone, Lowry made 15 cuts from 18 events, enjoying ten top-25 finishes and four top-10s while cashing in big-time with $3.6million in on-course earnings.
Lowry’s profile only grew through his play, seeing him bank a further $3m after finishing 12th in the Player Impact Programme, highlighting the Clara man’s significant influence on the sport.
And yet, for all that, it was Lowry’s first victory at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth back on the DP World Tour that rubber-stamped this successful campaign; one Lowry maintains he can surpass in 2023, albeit having set a lofty benchmark.
Asked by Irish Times journalist Philip Reid if he had reached his peak, Lowry said;
“I don’t know. I hope not. I’ve talked about this, and I’ve thought about this. Have I peaked? The Open [win in 2019] is probably going to be the best thing I will ever do in the game. But I’m comfortable with that. And I think as long as I’m comfortable with that, I’ve got other goals that I want to achieve, and they’re still going to be amazing.
“Like Wentworth was one of the greatest feelings ever this year. But it wasn’t The Open. But that’s okay. You know what I mean? So that’s how I feel about it.
“And I don’t think I’ve peaked. Ask Pádraig Harrington. He doesn’t think he’s peaked yet either. I think golfers, we all think we’ve got a good year in us, regardless of what age you are, what you’ve done.
“Do I feel like 2023 can be my best year? Yeah, of course I do. I wouldn’t be going out to compete if I didn’t think [so].”
It’s on the toughest stages that Lowry’s class has often shone through but while the four Majors will be high on his hit-list next year, the small matter of a Ryder Cup revenge mission in Rome sits at the forefront of his thinking. Lowry’s commitment to the European cause is unwavering, and his first appearance of the new year will see him represent GB&I in the Hero Cup for a dress rehearsal under Captain Luke Donald’s watchful eye in January.
“I think the Ryder Cup is very important for me [in 2023],” he said. “Like, obviously the Majors are very important to me. But the Ryder Cup is up there.
“I don’t only want to be a part of the team. I want to be part of a winning team. That’s the plan. That’s the goal. I wouldn’t be going playing the Hero Cup [in Abu Dhabi] in January if it wasn’t a Ryder Cup year. That’s how much it means to me. I feel that might help me, us, whoever, in September … for me, the number one goal [next year] would probably be to win the Ryder Cup.
“Obviously, I want to win the Masters. I want to win the Open. I want to win all of them, but I think a great goal is to be a part of the Ryder Cup team, because I think if I’m part of that I’ll be playing good golf.”
Lowry was part of Captain Pádraig Harrington’s side that suffered a record-breaking defeat to the Americans at Whistling Straits in 2021 and while the then rookie was a bright spark in an otherwise dull affair for Europe, Lowry admits he discovered something about himself in the face of adversity that he previously didn’t think existed.
“[The Ryder Cup] put something different in me that I never thought was there,” Lowry said.
“Because there were no European crowds there and it was all American fans, I said to myself, ‘no matter what happens, no matter what I do, I’m just going to take it easy, pick the ball out of the hole and walk off the green’.
“I remember holing a 30-footer for a half on the fourth hole playing with Rory on the first day and I just went bananas. I have no idea what happened or how it happened. It just happened. And I did that for the rest of the week. I loved every minute of it.”
Let’s hope a rambunctious Lowry will be making more Ryder Cup memories in Rome next year.
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