Different Strokes: Shane Lowry looking to seal Ryder Cup deal

Lowry returns to action at Wentworth fresh from the birth of his second daughter, Ivy

Shane Lowry returns to action in the PGA Championship. Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP

Shane Lowry returns to action in the PGA Championship. Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP

 

Shane Lowry looking to seal Ryder Cup deal

It was a mixed blessing for Shane Lowry that he didn’t actually claim a place in the Tour Championship at East Lake for, in the week off, and at home for the occasion, his wife Wendy gave birth to a second daughter, Ivy.

Lowry is back on work duty this week, where he will no doubt have an extra pep to his step as he competes in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth which is also the final counting event for Europe’s Ryder Cup qualifying campaign.

As things stand, Lowry occupies the ninth and final automatic spot and he will clearly be looking to finish the job without having the need to take up one of captain Pádraig Harrington’s three wild card picks which will be delivered once the championship is done and dusted.

Those players currently occupying automatic places are Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Rory McIlroy (through the European points list) and Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood and Lowry (through the world points list).

Of the nine, six of them - Fleetwood, Hatton, Hovland, Fitzpatrick, Westwood and Lowry - are all competing in the European Tour’s flagship tournament, while the likes of Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Bob MacIntyre and Martin Kaymer are among those seeking to turn Harrington’s head for a captain’s pick. Sergio Garcia, who is outside the automatic places (10th in the world points list), isn’t playing but will hope he has done enough in recent weeks to lock down a pick.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger is in need of a top-50 finish to overtake McIlroy on the European points list but as many as 16 players (as far down as Poulter, who is 22nd on that list) could claim an automatic spot with a win. So, it’s looking like a complicated few days in the stockbroker belt before the numbers are crunched.

Lowry is one of four Irish players in the BMW PGA field, along with Harrington, Jonny Caldwell and Graeme McDowell, who is playing for the first time since undergoing surgery on his arm. Cormac Sharvin is first reserve.

Rory’s 3-wood finds a new lease of life

You won’t find Rory McIlroy’s infamous 3-wood - the one tossed in anger into trees at Liberty National mid-round at the recent Northern Trust Championship - being auctioned on eBay.

After a number of days searching the area, the golf club’s general manager Lee Smith revealed storms in the New Jersey area last week resulted in the golf club apparently being dislodged from a tree which led to it being found.

McIlroy has moved on to a new 3-wood, and doesn’t want it back.

The plan is for the TaylorMade SIM2 Max club to be displayed on a wall of the clubhouse. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep it out of a case while also securing it. We’d like people to be able to touch and feel it, because it really has taken on a life of its own,” said Smith.

By the Numbers

1-1-1-1-1 - Jon Rahm’s end of season stats on the PGA Tour: Scoring average (1st); Strokes gained total (1st); Strokes gained tee to green (1st); Top-10 finishes (1st); Birdie average (1st).

Word of Mouth (I)

“It’s the same wrist I had issues with back in ‘17, ‘18, so just making sure it’s all good” - Brooks Koepka after withdrawing from the Tour Championship to protect another injury with just over two weeks to go to the Ryder Cup at Whsitling Straits. Koepka previously injured his wrist in December 2018 and missed more than three months of play in early 2019 with a partially torn tendon in the same wrist.

Word of Mouth (II)

“It really felt weird to have this feeling of disappointment of not winning on a day when you are making $5 million. Something doesn’t add up” - Jon Rahm on the money.

On this day

September 7th 1986 - Jose Maria Olazabal’s breakthrough win came in the heights of the Alps, where the 20-year-old Spaniard shot rounds of 64-66-66-66 for a total of 262, three shots clear of runner-up Anders Forsbrand. Ollie’s first win - in a career which saw him win two US Masters among 30 worldwide successes - came in his rookie season on tour having earned his card by winning the previous year’s Qualifying School. Olazabal earned the equivalent of €61,000 for his maiden success.

Twitter Twaddle

Did someone win $15 million today? I was busy watching something else - American Beth Allen, who plays on the LET, very clearly among those to skip viewing the Tour Championship in favour of the Solheim Cup.

One of the toughest parts of team #golf is trying to play out ur fist pump before u hit a putt but not letting that distract u from making it. Little nuances of this format people probably haven’t considered - Max Homa was clearly watching the Solheim Cup too.

Felt great to be in contention this week - lots of positives & confidence to take to Wentworth. Massie thanks @ItalianOpen for a great event and to the people of Italy for making me feel half Italian! Congrats to Nicolai, I’m sure it won’t be the last Hojgaard victory on Tour…. - Tommy Fleetwood, whose runner-up finish in Rome gave him a first top-10 finish in 13 starts dating back to the WGC-Dell Matchplay.

In the Bag

Nicolai Hojgaard - Italian Open

Driver - TaylorMade SIM2 (10.5 degrees)

3-wood - TaylorMade SIM2 Max (15 degrees)

5-wood - TaylorMade SIM2 Max (22 degrees)

Irons - TaylorMade P7TW (4i-PW)

Wedges - TaylorMade Hi-Toe 2 (52, 56 and 60 degrees)

Putter - Scotty Cameron Fastback 1.5

Ball - TaylorMade TP5 2021

Know the Rules

Q - In preparing to play a difficult shot from a greenside bunker, Player A accidentally touches the sand with his club in taking a practice swing. Is he in breach of the rules for this unintentional action?

A - Although the rule changes in 2019 altered some interpretations relating to occurrences in bunkers, touching the sand with a club in taking a practice swing continues to be prohibited (Rule 12.2(b)) and subject to penalty. The main reasons for prohibiting touching sand in taking a practice swing is to do with pace of play and also to avoid having large amounts of sand deposited outside bunkers as a result of repeated practice swings.

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