Shane Lowry: My performances in the Majors have been very satisfying
I needed to win or finish runner-up at Valhalla to make the Ryder Cup team but now I’m aiming for a good end to the season
Shane Lowry plays his second to the 18th during the third round of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
The curious thing with golf is that so much of our focus is put on the Majors – playing in them, doing well in them, living and breathing them – and, yet, when they’re done and over, there is still so much left to play for. Unfortunately, me qualifying for the Ryder Cup didn’t happen this time but I’m taking the time since the US PGA to re-energise and re-focus on the rest of the season with the view to keep pushing on and make it as successful a season as I possibly can.
This is the first year I have played in three of the four Majors. The odd one out was the Masters and my big goal is to get to Augusta next year – and not only to get there but to do well! I left Valhalla on the Sunday, got to Chicago for a night out there before flying home and, in looking back on my performance in the PGA and my other Major appearances this year, there is an entitlement to feel they were pretty successful.
Okay, I missed the cut at the US Open in Pinehurst by one stroke; but I played well for 32 holes before a bad last three or four holes to finish in my second round, and I used that as a learning experience and bounced back with a top-10 finish in the British Open at Hoylake where I not only played but competed. And, then, I felt as comfortable in the PGA as I have ever done in a tournament in America.
As bad as I felt about being out in that monsoon on the Friday morning’s second round, I now see that as something too that you learn from and, if you can do that, then it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
One area of my game which I am proud of is how well I am playing on Sundays. As my coach Neil Manchip pointed out to me the other day, in my last six final rounds that I have played going back to the BMW PGA at Wentworth, I have gone 68, 66, 67, 66, 65, 67 which averages out at being 5.2-under par. So, that’s not a bad way to finish tournaments on payday!
Improvement in fitnessOne factor that I think has helped me in being strong – physically and mentally – on those Sundays has been an improvement in fitness. I am not saying I am a fitness freak, not by any means, but I am enjoying the workouts I am doing in my off-weeks with my trainer Barry Solan.
When I’m at home, away from tournaments, I work with Barry twice a week. I’d a good chat with him last week about setting goals for the rest of the year and on getting ready for the European Masters in Switzerland in a couple of weeks time when I get back playing again.