Shane Lowry admits he wasn’t sure about competing at this week’s Hero Cup after such an exhausting season but having been a vocal supporter of the re-emergence of the event, he’s now fully committed to supporting a new era for European golf.
Lowry made his Ryder Cup debut in a record-breaking defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021 and looks assured of a place in Captain Luke Donald’s side for a September revenge mission in Rome.
🚨 PAIRINGS ANNOUNCED 🚨
How they’ll line up tomorrow at the #HeroCup. pic.twitter.com/cSDkZV0ARX
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) January 12, 2023
He would’ve been forgiven for opting out of this first edition of the reimagined Seve Trophy but having hummed and hawed over his participation, Lowry is relishing the chance to line out for Team GB&I against Continental Europe from Friday.
“The way the PGA Tour schedule is, I must admit I was kind of mixed about it, but I really wanted to play as I was one of the players after the last Ryder Cup who spoke to the DP World Tour and said, ‘look, I really feel we need something like this again’,” said Lowry.
“I feel the Americans have natural pairings and they are building that camaraderie and I feel we need that. We are obviously missing the likes of Rory, Jon [Rahm] and Fitzy [Matt Fitzpatrick], but I feel the rest of us who are playing in it will get a lot of benefit out of it.
“By playing in it myself, I hope I can give benefit to some of the younger lads and some of the rookies who might make the team next September. I played the EurAsia Cup and just being in that environment is a help.
“I know it’s nowhere near the same league as the Ryder Cup, but it is nice to be involved in something like that. If we get a couple of pairings out of it for Rome next year, then it will be a worthwhile exercise.”
While Lowry looks to have cemented his status as a key player for Europe for many years to come, the Offaly man still sees plenty of room for improvement in his own game despite coming off the back of arguably his best ever year.
“I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done last year,” he says. “There were a couple of things I didn’t achieve that I would have liked, like not making the Tour Championship. I contended in one of the four majors, being up there in the Masters for a while. I won a big tournament (BMW PGA) and I achieved a lot of what I wanted to achieve.
“Apart from 2019, it’s probably been my best year on tour.”
Lowry’s fellow Irishman, Séamus Power will also hope to continue to impress coming off a fine campaign, and the West Waterford star is already eyeing up the possibility of an Emerald Isle pairing alongside the 2019 Open winner in January.
“It’s amazing to be named in it,” says Power who earned his Hero Cup call-up following his second PGA Tour victory at the Bermuda Championship in October.
“I haven’t been a part of anything like this before but it will be incredible to meet everyone and represent my team.
“I’d love to play with Shane. With the golf he has played this year and knowing his game, I think we would make a strong partnership. But I would be very happy to be matched up with anyone really.”
Power looks to be a real contender to enter the fold for a Ryder Cup debut next September in Rome having kicked on from his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Barbasol Championship in 2021 to now sit 29th on the Official World Golf Rankings.
It’s been quite the journey for the now 35-year old who was ranked outside the top-400 in the world at the start of the 2021 season.
“I’ve always felt like this is in there,” Power says. “That’s why we play, that’s why you’re out here.”
“The moment of winning is amazing because it’s so hard in golf. The doors it opens for you and what it means for your career is just something else.
“It makes it so exciting going forward. I’ll be going to Maui (Sentry Tournament of Champions). Playing that tournament last year was such a cool experience, knowing that there are only 38 or 39 guys. Little things like that.
“It was a good year, but it was interesting because I did particularly well early and then faded a little bit in the summer.
“So I think the break was massive for me. I just kind of rebooted and got energy and passion back for it.
“I had good fall events last year and obviously even better this year. It’s fantastic.
“The Ryder Cup is a ways away yet, but getting that win early and getting on the radar for something like that, locking up my exemption, locking up the top-50 in the world at the end of the year, it’s been massive.”
Lowry tees off in the first group alongside GB&I Captain Tommy Fleetwood while Power plays alongside Scot Robert MacIntyre in the opening session.
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