Shane Lowry has said elite golfers need to focus on what is right “for golf, not what’s right for us” amid the large amounts of money being offered to players to join the breakaway Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour.
Lowry, speaking on the No Laying Up podcast, says he does not play golf for the money, but for the trophies and that the money being “thrown around in golf is absolutely disgusting”.
“I have always said I don’t play the game for money, I never have,” Lowry says. “I feel like that’s why I didn’t even entertain it to be honest.”
“If you play the game for money, maybe you should go there [to LIV]. If you play the game for trophies, you shouldn’t. When I looked at the trophy at Wentworth and I saw the names on the trophy, it’s the who’s who of European golf. It’s incredible my name gets to go on that, I don’t care how much money I won.
“When I had a few drinks on Sunday night [after Wentworth] someone asked me ‘how much money did you win today?’ and honestly I have no idea. They wouldn’t believe me but I had no idea. I had to go to a text from the European Tour to check how much I won.”
Lowry says in the grander scheme of things, golf is not as big a sport as the NBA and NFL, and is very lucky corporate America loves golf and that is why the PGA Tour has big purses.
“What LIV has done is causing a division in the game, that will piss people off, people will stop watching it, I think the amounts of money that are being thrown about are absolutely disgusting at the minute.
“Even I feel like all people talk about is money now. Watching the Tour Championship, all the commentators kept talking about was how much money they were going to win, I was like ‘will you just talk about the trophy or the title’ or how many times Tiger has won it. I think it’s just disgusting amounts of money.
“The general Joe Soap, who works his nuts off to make 50k a year, has to struggle to pay his membership, this is probably pissing him off more than anyone. That’s the wrong thing to do.
“I’m lucky to have the life I have, it’s not my god given right to be a part of something that will bury those tours. It’s just up to me to hold my place there and pass it on to someone else when it’s my time to sail off into the sunset.”
Lowry says he may have “misjudged the room” by agreeing to play in the Saudi International for three years on the DP World Tour.
“It would be very hypocritical for me if I said it [the reason I was against LIV] was because of where the money is coming from. Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, they’re all beside each other, I’d play them at the start of the year and come back to America.
“I say I don’t play the game for money but I was getting well looked after for going there. But because it was also a European Tour event, on a Ryder Cup year, you’re picking up points and all that. Maybe I misjudged the room.”
On winning at Wentworth, Lowry says he relished his reputation of being a big-tournament golfer.
“Hopefully it stays like that over the next few years and I can knock off another few big ones. I wouldn’t swap the Open for 20 wins. The big tournaments are what I get up for in the morning. I love preparing for it and I love the heat of the moment.”