Ryder Cup: Pádraig Harrington selects Shane Lowry as wildcard

‘Shane’s a big time player, it was an easy pick for me. Nobody thinks of him as a rookie’

Ireland’s Shane Lowry watches his approach shot to the third green during the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland’s Shane Lowry watches his approach shot to the third green during the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

 

It didn’t come with a phone call, or via a text message. Shane Lowry was, as he put it, summoned into “the principal’s office” where Pádraig Harrington, the main man, gave him an embrace in informing he was the recipient of one of his three captain’s wild card picks to complete Europe’s team for the Ryder Cup against the United States at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin later this month.

In delivering the news at Wentworth a couple of hours following the BMW PGA Championship, Harrington allowed a weight to lift from his fellow Irishman’s shoulders – after narrowly failing to make the team by right through the qualifying process – while also adding Sergio Garcia, the record points holder in the match’s history, and Ian Poulter, aka “The Postman”, to his team.

Lowry had been in the players’ lounge with his father, Brendan, an All-Ireland football winner with Offaly in 1982, when he got the request to go see Harrington. No message of confirmation, that was to be delivered in person. “There was all sorts going through my head, I was more relieved that anything else. I’m over the moon, extremely excited to be part of the team,” said Lowry.

And, in finally getting the nod, the 34-year-old Offalyman said: “I’ve a huge amount of self belief that I can go there and deliver points for Europe; that’s all that matters, whether you made the team as number one or as last man picked.

“I do know I can bring good golf.I feel like I can be good in a team room, I get on with everyone. I think. ‘What can I bring?’ I can just bring myself and be myself. I think myself is good enough if I am honest. If I can go to Whistling Straits and do what I can do, I can achieve a lot that week and achieve a lot for the team.”

Garcia and Poulter were always on Harrington’s go-to picks if failing to make the team through qualifying and the captain revealed that the issue of a pick had been “the elephant in the room” whenever it came to personal discussions with Lowry, also admitting he had sought guidance from his vice-captains that there was no element of “unconscious bias” in his selections.

If he hadn’t have got the pick? “I would have been a lonely man,” admitted Lowry, adding: “I’m grateful Paddy and his vice-captains put their trust in me. All I wanted to do was make the Ryder Cup team. I sat down with my team in 2018 and made it my goal. As the weeks went on, I kept having good weeks, solid weeks. It felt as if I was ticking another box [every week] in what I needed to do to make the team. I feel like I deserve to be there.”

Harrington, who had a three-year qualifying process after the scheduled 2020 match was postponed a year due to Covid, said Lowry would bring “great passion” to the match while also admitting he felt for Justin Rose and Alex Noren on missing out.

“Nobody thinks of Shane as a rookie. You know, all it says is if I picked a rookie, he’s probably delivered twice to get on the team because a rookie has to prove himself more than anything else and Shane is a big-time player. He’s nothing better than when he’s on the big stage. He delivers consistently under pressure in those sort of situations,” insisted Harrington in backing Lowry’s selection.

European Ryder Cup team

Jon Rahm
Tommy Fleetwood
Tyrrell Hatton
Bernd Wiesberger
Rory McIlroy
Viktor Hovland
Paul Casey
Matt Fitzpatrick
Lee Westwood

Wildcard picks:
Sergio Garcia
Shane Lowry
Ian Poulter

US Ryder Cup team

Dustin Johnson
Collin Morikawa
Brooks Koepka
Bryson DeChambeau
Patrick Cantlay
Justin Thomas
Daniel Berger
Harris English
Tony Finau
Xander Schauffele
Scottie Scheffler
Jordan Spieth

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