Shane Lowry relishing a run at Irish Open title after pocketing Ryder Cup wild card

The K Club starts a run of golf that Lowry hopes will conclude with European victory in Rome

Shane Lowry smiles during a press conference ahead of the Horizon Irish Open at The K Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

In those dying days of Ryder Cup qualification, Shane Lowry took himself well away from the rarefied air of the Alps. Instead, he’d spent last Friday at Adare Manor and then ventured over the weekend to south Kerry, to Hogs Head in Waterville to be exact – “one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been” – before finally returning to Dublin to await confirmation of his inclusion by Luke Donald for Europe’s team.

He got it, as we know, and Lowry’s arrival here to The K Club ahead of the Horizon Irish Open came with just a little bouncier step and, if possible, a wider grin that usual.

Like a man with a weight taken off those broad shoulders?

“I was just delighted. Look, I’m very confident in my own ability, and I know what I can bring. I think Luke knows that as well. I’m very happy to be in the team. I think we have a very good team this year, I think we have a very strong team.


“I mean, my form probably has not been the greatest, but some of the bigger events I’ve played some of my best golf, and there’s nothing bigger than the Ryder Cup. And hopefully I can go to Rome and show people what I’m made of,” said Lowry.

He added: “I definitely said at the start of the year, my big thing was to not only to make the team, but [being on the] winning the Ryder Cup this year was one of my main goals, and I probably put too much pressure on myself.

“Did it get in the way a little bit? I wouldn’t say so. I think there’s certain times throughout the season where I maybe didn’t finish off tournaments as well as I would have liked, you finish 15th or 20th, it makes it look like an average week, but finish the tournament a little better on Sunday or a couple of shots here or there you’re not far away. I certainly didn’t feel like I was far off this year.”

With any qualifying pressure now lifted, it is time to move on and Lowry, certainly, has his heart and mind set on letting his clubs do the talking for him in one of his favourite weeks of the golfing year.

The Irish Open has always been a special tournament for Lowry, who of course won as an amateur in 2009. But even with a career CV that now includes a Major win (the Open in 2019), a WGC (the Bridgestone Invitational in 2015), a tour flagship championship (the BMW PGA in 2022), there remains something special about weeks like these.

“This week is our fifth major, it really is. I do treat it like that,” insisted Lowry with that clear passion that Donald identified as one of the traits that swung a wild card pick for Rome.

Indeed, Lowry and the others will be on a plane to the Italian capital on Monday for a reconnaissance visit to Marco Simone Golf Club, followed by some team bonding with a meal and overnight, before heading back to Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship which he will defend.

If he were to make up an ideal late-season run of events – the Irish Open, followed by the BMW defence and then the Ryder Cup – it would be such a timeline. “It’s kind of dream stuff and something that I’m looking forward to the challenge the next few weeks, and very excited for what it could bring,” said Lowry, looking fresh and invigorated for whatever lies ahead of him.

Include a post-Ryder Cup trip to take in some of Ireland’s latter Rugby World Cup campaign, and it has the makings of something special. “It’s an amazing month to have ahead of you, to be honest,” he confessed.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times