Shane Lowry: Ryder Cup thoughts not on European minds
Irish star keen to win EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur
Shane Lowry in action during a practice round for the EurAsia Cup at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club on in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photograph: Arep Kulal/Getty Images
Shane Lowry insists the EurAsia Cup is not just a dry run for this year’s Ryder Cup as Europe look to make amends for squandering a massive lead in the inaugural event two years ago.
Darren Clarke captains the 12-man European team in Kuala Lumpur before performing the same role at Hazeltine in September and has chosen Ryder Cup stalwarts Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as his wild cards.
Team-mates Victor Dubuisson, Matt Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Danny Willett and Kristoffer Broberg all currently occupy automatic qualifying places, but Lowry believes the visitors will be focused on the task at hand against an Asia team captained by India’s Jeev Milkha Singh.
“The EurAsia Cup is a great tournament in its own right, so we want to play as well as we can and we want to try and win on Sunday,” said Lowry, who won his first WGC title in the Bridgestone Invitational last year.
“I’m pretty sure that the 12 of us will not be thinking anything about the Ryder Cup on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s a nice tournament to start the year and hopefully we can start it well. It’s always a lot of fun playing a team event and we’re having a great laugh in the team room. It’s just a nice environment to be in.”
Europe won the opening session 5-0 in 2014 and led 7-3 going into the singles, but were pegged back before the entire contest came down to the match between Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara.
Dubuisson is the only survivor from that side, but Westwood believes his experience of nine consecutive Ryder Cup appearances will not be required too much at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
“I think all the lads that are playing this week are great players in their own right and they really don’t need much from me,” the 42-year-old said. “They have played on a big stage before, maybe not so much team golf, but I’m sure they have played a bit of team golf coming through the amateur ranks.
“You’re representing Europe, but you try to not let that thinking get in the way. You’ve just got to do your own thing, play your own game – the game that got you into the team – and hopefully that’s good enough to win you some points.”
The atmosphere in the European team appears good, with staunch Arsenal fan Poulter presented with a signed Tottenham shirt when he arrived in Malaysia after celebrating his recent 40th birthday in Las Vegas.
“There’s been some great banter in the team room,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think everyone on the outside probably thinks we’re all so serious and really grim, but it feels like it’s been just one big laugh.
“I haven’t stopped laughing all day, playing with Willett, Lee and Poulter. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and it doesn’t feel like there’s much pressure, but I’m sure that’ll change on Friday.”