Shane Lowry ready for Ryder Cup push in 2018
Offaly golfer ended the season on a high with his second place finish in Race to Dubai finale
Shane Lowry of Ireland prepares to play a shot during the final round of the DP World Tour Golf Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. Photo: Karim Sahib/Getty Images
Patience is indeed a virtue, as Shane Lowry has discovered. A year that frustrated for the main part – as he slipped down the world rankings – was dramaticcally transformed by his runner-up finish to Jon Rahm in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Sunday and, money aside, the dividends are reflected in the latest Ryder Cup qualifying tables and the official world rankings.
After a season where the door seemed to slam repeatedly in his face, Lowry’s performance in his last tournament of the campaign brought benefits that saw him jump to 58th from 85th – an improvement of 27 places – in the latest world rankings, whilst he has made spectacular leaps in both Ryder Cup listings (to sixth on the European points list and to eight in the world points list).
Also, in moving from 50th place at the start of the season’s finale to a final position of 22nd in the 2017 Race to Dubai rankings, Lowry has also assured himself – as did Paul Dunne – of an exemption into next year’s British Open at Carnoustie.
For sure, the glass is half-full rather than half-empty as Lowry faces into his winter break with much anticipation of what lies ahead in the 2018 season which is of course a Ryder Cup year.
“I can’t wait for next year, I am looking forward to it. I have got huge goals. I want to win again. I want to make the Ryder Cup team. They’re my two main goals for next year. I feel I have a lot to add to a European Ryder Cup team. I have the personality and the game to do alright and to do well in a Ryder Cup. I am going to try my best (to qualify). Every day I go out there I am going to try as good as I can and hopefully that will be enough to have me in Paris next September,” said Lowry.
In many ways, Lowry’s season proved to be a tale of two halves: the first part featured no fewer than five missed cuts and one withdrawal (in the Genesis Open) and only one top-10 finish (in the BMW PGA at Wentworth), while the second part saw him miss only one cut (when ill at the Italian Open) and no fewer than four top-10s, starting at the Wyndham Championship and culminating with the tied-second in Dubai.
“On the course it has been rough at times and I plummeted down the world rankings quite a lot but I have never stopped trying, never stopped working, never gave in. I have always tried my best every day that I go out there and that’s all I can do.
“These past two months of golf have been quite enjoyable for me. I feel like I have played well. It has been a great year personally. I had my biggest trophy of the year, the birth of my little girl (Iris). Golf is obviously hugely important but I am very happy with how the year has gone now and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Lowry – and family – will make a major change to their lifestyles by moving to Florida in early January, which will be the player’s USA base for six months so that the frequent flying back-and-forth across the Atlantic will be stopped. Of the move, Lowry commented: “It is something we talked about a lot, myself and Wendy, it is exciting for us.”
It means Lowry can devote the first part of next year to his commitments on the PGA Tour, with the travel itinerary that he undertook this year curtailed. It should mean that he is fresher, mentally and physically, for the run of tournaments stateside.
At one point this season, Lowry had slipped to 89th in the world rankings but that recent run of good form – with the best left until last in the desert – has seen him move up to 58th. Although shy of the objective to break into the top-50 by the year’s end when US Masters invitations are issued, Lowry has significantly closed the gap and will have a second bite at the cherry in the early part of next year when a second top-50 cut-off comes after the WGC-Mexico tournament in March.
While Lowry takes a break from the sport, Paul Dunne’s global odyssey continues this week as he tees up – alongside US Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose – in the UBS Hong Kong Open. It is Dunne’s fifth straight tournament going back to the HSBC Champions. The Greystones golfer, like Lowry, is also firmly in the Ryder Cup mix at this early stage of qualifying (seventh on the European points list and fifth on the world points) and will find out this Thursday if he has made the team for the EurAsia Cup which takes place in Malaysia in January.