Shane Lowry interview: ‘Winning an Olympic gold medal would be something else’

Offaly golfer believes if his putter behaves he can have a ‘very good year’ on the PGA Tour

Shane Lowry: focused on a strong start to his PGA Tour season. Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty

On a recent trip to Lapland with the family, with the freeze factor dipping to minus 15 degrees, Shane Lowry found one source of disappointment amid all the joy. His beard, it transpired, was real; the one on the man dressed as Santa Claus wasn’t. “It was false, I couldn’t believe it,” quipped Lowry.

If that little end-of-year family visit to the Arctic brought an end to his globetrotting which had started with Abu Dhabi back in January, time at home in Ireland for the Christmas period will be followed quickly by another season on tour – his 16th, where does the time go?

Lowry’s current PGA Tour status means he is not yet confirmed of places in the newfangled “signature” tournaments (with smaller fields and fattened purses) and will mean him missing his traditional season’s start in the UAE on the DP World Tour and instead looking to get off to a fast start on the US circuit.

Lowry didn’t finish in the top 50 on the PGA Tour this past season which means he will have to find a different route into those events and even look for invites, which explains why the focus – by necessity – must be on those early-season tournaments on the west coast of the United States.


Yet, for the 2019 Open champion, the tournaments which he has circled are the four Majors and the Olympics and the Amgen Irish Open, which he famously won as an amateur in 2009 and one that has remained on his hit list since turning professional.

“At the end of the day, I feel like I know what I want to achieve in the game. I know the tournaments that mean the most to me. So what I’ve done is sit down with the lads [his team at Horizon sports management] trying to figure out a schedule for me that works to get ready,” said Lowry, who admitted his past season had been “pretty average, not much bad stuff, not much great stuff, a lot of good and a lot of okay.”

Shane Lowry celebrates with the Ryder Cup. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Indeed, the absence of a win (apart from being on Europe’s Ryder Cup success), a tied-third finish in the Irish Open at The K Club being his best finish, would back up Lowry’s own assessment of the season gone.

“I think I’ve been around long enough to know that professional golf ebbs and flows, you just have to keep doing what you feel is right. As long as you do that, and things aren’t going too badly, you just have to believe that the best is yet to come. And I think that’s what we’re great at, as professional golfers, believing that the best is yet to come, and I’m hopeful that’s the case.”

Looking constructively back on the year gone, Lowry is aware of lessons learned and of moving on.

“The first four months, I probably hit the ball as good as I ever have and putted as bad as I ever have. Then I figured that out some time [with putting] around May, then just didn’t hit it as well. But it was pretty good on the greens for the rest of the season, quite comfortable, got very comfortable there.

“And, yeah, that was my season because seasons come and go pretty quick. I always look back and I was completely dejected after the Masters this year because I felt like I hit the ball well enough to win [at Augusta], I just putted really badly, it was probably the worst putting week I’ve ever had.

“I’ve got certain stuff that I work on but it’s all very similar, I’m quite motivated going out next year. I feel like I didn’t pick a good schedule for myself this year early on and I think I struggled with that. I lost confidence in certain tournaments that I historically haven’t played well at anyway.

Shane Lowry finished tied for 22nd at the last Olympics. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

“And I just feel like at this level that you need to pick the courses that you feel like if you play great, you’re going to win. Whereas I was playing some courses that I feel like if I go there I play great I’m going to finish 20th. So that’s kind of a hard place to start your weekend.

“So yeah, do my schedule better next year and hopefully, my putter behaves and I feel like I can have a very good year.”

Lowry is into all four Majors – the Masters at Augusta, the US PGA at Valhalla in Kentucky, the US Open at Pinehurst, and the 152nd Open at Royal Troon in Scotland – next year while The Players at Sawgrass is celebrating its 50th anniversary. And, then, there’s the Olympics in Paris.

Lowry played at the Tokyo Olympics (finishing tied-22nd) and would like to challenge for a medal next time.

“I know how much Olympic medals mean in this country, and I think that would just be something else, like the Ryder Cup was this year. [Representing Ireland was] another thing on my list of my career achievements that I wanted to do and I think the Olympic medal, you know, obviously a gold medal will be amazing, but a medal in general would be great.”

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