Shane Lowry Will NOT Let Europe Down at Ryder Cup
AS WE close in on a highly anticipated Ryder Cup clash at Marco Simone, in this View From The Fairway, I make no apologies for singling out a special performance by Shane Lowry at the Irish Open.
The Irishman has endured a difficult season and was a controversial choice for Europe’s Ryder Cup team by captain Luke Donald. The 2019 Open champion has struggled all year. There have been some flashes of form but he hasn’t looked like winning.
However, he was desperate to be chosen. He said that although he was on the losing side at Whistling Straits two years ago, it was an experience that he loved and he made it clear that he wants to be part of a winning team.
Before the team was finalised I wrote that Donald could be facing a headache if the Irish Open and BMW PGA Championship were won by players who were not on his team. OK, so Lowry didn’t win at The K Club but he did use the tournament to shut a few people up.
Having been given a wild card by Donald, Lowry’s next tournament was on home soil. That brings with it a pressure all of its own, with huge crowds cheering his every move. With the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders, Lowry produced his best result of the year by finishing third.
He admitted that the whispers had upset him and it is mark of both the man and the competitor within him that he was able to respond at precisely the right time. This is EXACTLY the sort of player we need in the European team.
Lowry said: “I know there was a little bit about that and.... I need to be careful here. It didn’t sit very well with me to be honest. I feel like, yes, my results have not been amazing this year, but I feel if you purely go down to statistics and go down the 12 best players in Europe, I’m one of them. And I feel like I deserve my place on the team.
"I know I’ll be good in Rome and I’m very excited for it.”
Lowry finished the Irish Open on 12 under par on a tough course, two behind champion Vincent Norrman.
This is a man who has won a major and come out on top in a World Golf Championship and the timing of his return to form could hardly have been better.
The 36-year-old delivered under the pressure of a home tournament in the wake of his Ryder Cup wild card selection being questioned.
Much was written on social media, with former British Masters winner Richard Bland - a member of the LIV Golf tour - among those believing that Adrian Meronk’s consistent form meant the Pole “deserves a pick over an out-of-form Lowry”.
Meronk, who was overlooked in favour of Lowry, certainly felt pretty hard done by - and many people sympathised with the giant Polish golfer.
Lowry said: "I started the week being picked for the Ryder Cup team and I come here and play some of the best golf I've played all year. I'm very pleased with myself.
"One thing I'm especially happy with is my iron play which has been iffy over the past month or two. I felt like it was the best part of my game this week.
"I'm pretty happy with everything and I have a nice few weeks ahead of me."
Accurate iron play will be a must at Marco Simone.
You can be certain that Donald will have breathed a huge sigh of relief and had some special words for Lowry when his team gathered in Rome prior to spending Monday this week scouting the Marco Simone course.
That trip, involving the European team, captain and vice-captains, was the first time Lowry has seen the course. It was an important team bonding exercise before the action gets under way for real on September 29.
And Donald will now believe that Lowry can be an integral part of that team. Having posted only one top 10 all year, Lowry was picked on reputation rather than form.
He said: "Irish Opens are tournaments that have generally been a struggle in the past. I felt like I was great out there all week. It's one of the best tournaments I've played this year so far and that's kind of nice.
"I have an exciting few weeks of golf ahead of me now and this is a great way to start and hopefully I can build on it from here.”
There is no doubt in my mind that he will do precisely that.
It also speaks volumes that the entire European team made themselves available for the advance trip to Marco Simone. Zach Johnson also invited the American team to Rome but several of the players opted to remain at home - even though they had not played the course before.
The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience. The experts at Golfbreaks.com can help with all aspects of your Ryder Cup experience, from accommodation and ticket packages to hospitality and travel and playing some of the fantastic nearby courses.
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