Shane Lowry hasn’t hit the panic button as so-so form continues
Offalyman has very fond memories of the Irish Open and ‘treats it like a Major ’
Shane Lowry speaking on practice day for the Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co Donegal. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
The art of juggling isn’t easy, as Shane Lowry – attempting to keep the ball in the air on two tours – has discovered. With cards on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but a schedule top-heavily focused on the American circuit, the Offalyman’s slide to 90th in the latest world rankings is indicative of his struggle to cope with such demands. So far.
Lowry in fact is set to undertake a review at the end of the season of how he maps out his itinerary. For now, though, a return to links terrain – with the taste of sea salt in the air – is something that could yet provide an elixir to his woes.
“Playing both tours, travelling literally all over the world, it’s not been easy. My golf has suffered. When this season comes to a close on the PGA Tour I’m going to have to sit down and have a look at it, and see what I’m doing going forward.
“I’m probably going to have to change something...I just have to try and figure it out for myself,” said Lowry, who has dropped from 62nd in the world at the start to the year to 90th currently.
“It hasn’t been great the last year and a half... around the greens I just haven’t been the Shane Lowry that was there three or four years ago. But I’m trying my best. I’m working on what I feel are the right things.”
Yet Lowry hasn’t pressed any panic button. “It’s a funny game because I remember back in 2015 I was, not in a similar boat, but wasn’t far off. And suddenly (I) win in Akron, and you’re the best player in the world. That’s the way golf is. I really feel like I just have to wait for my week to happen.”
A look at his form this season shows a consistency in making cuts but not getting into the business end of affairs on the back nine of a Sunday when tournaments are won and lost. Too often he’s been finished and packed.
“There’s not been many missed cuts, not many disastrous weeks, it has been average, and average doesn’t cut it on the PGA Tour. I have to raise my game above average for the next few months and see what happens.”
Lowry has played 15 tournaments so far this season and missed only four cuts, the most recent one at the US Open. “That was disappointing,” he admitted.
Yet a tied-16th finish in the French Open left him with the feeling that it was one that could have been won. “It was the first week in a while where I left thinking, ‘you know I really could have contended, like, I could have won that’.”
Lowry’s last win on tour was also his biggest, the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. That was three years ago in August of 2015. Another win on tour has proven elusive, although – as ever – a return to links golf is something that seems to have him licking his lips in anticipation.
It was as an amateur at Baltray in 2009 that his win against the odds proved a life-changing moment. “It’s a weird one because one of the reasons I feel like I won the Irish Open is because I didn’t know what it was all about, and how hard it was to play in as a home player.
‘Love to win’
“This is as big as any Major to me. I’d really love to win this again, so it is as big as any Major. I treat it like a Major...I would give anything [to be in the final group on Sunday]. I am just going to go about my business and try and do it as best as I can, and, hopefully, that leaves me with a chance on Sunday. I am coming in here with an open mind, and will go and play as good as golf as I can and see what happens after that.
“I am coming here to Ballyliffin and I am really coming here with my eyes set on being there on Sunday and giving myself a chance, and giving the Irish people something to cheer about.”