Big week for Lowry but even bigger for Clarke, who will captain "my own way"

Big week for Lowry but even bigger for Clarke, who will captain "my own way"
Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry will be keen to boost his Ryder Cup credentials by producing a sterling fourball performance alongside Andy Sullivan on the opening day of the EurAsia Cup. 

But whatever about the Offaly man's Ryder Cup future, which will be decided by his performances in the majors and other big events this season, skipper Darren Clarke is under pressure to perform  at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia before he takes on Davis Love in the autumn.

The European Ryder Cup captain is already under pressure to match Paul McGinley, who was meticulous, brilliant and more importantly, a winning captain in Gleneagles two years ago.

Clarke plans to sit down with McGinley for a long chat at some stage soon — he's been promising to exchange views with the man who beat him out of the 2014 job to exacerbate tensions in an already damaged relationship since he got the job.

But in an interview with the Daily Telegraph's James Corrigan ahead of the EurAsia Cup, he made it clear that he's going to do thing his way at Hazeltine later this year, hence the decision to fire the statistical analysis company McGinley used in favour of his own team of analysts.

Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan during practice

Shane Lowry and Andy Sullivan during practice

And no, he won't be going down the goldfish route:

“Paul was very intensive and made every decision about the Ryder Cup,” Clarke said. “My decisions will primarily be pertaining to the team. Yeah, I’ll have an input on what goes on in the team room, but unlike Paul I won’t decide on colours or have blue and gold fish or whatever, as that’s beyond what I’ll be any good at, I’d like to think."

As for Lowry, he's determined to perform well and he was at pains to dismiss all talk of the clash with Jeev Milkha Singh's talented Asian team as a dry run for the Ryder Cup.

Clarke has chosen Ryder Cup stalwarts Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as his wild cards but while Victor Dubuisson, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sullivan, Chris Wood, Danny Willett and Kristoffer Broberg all currently occupy automatic qualifying places, Lowry believes the visitors must remain focused on the task at hand against a talented 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."

Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger will lead off for Europe in the opening fourballs with Lowry and Sullivan in the penultimate match against Shigo Katayama and Wu Ashun.

Clarke said: “Obviously we all know Poults. We know what he brings to the team. We know what he brings to the team room. And to have him leading off Europe, we couldn't ask for a better player.

"With Bernd, you've got a very, very young, exciting talent, who won the French Open last year, on one of our most difficult golf courses and won comfortably; a very strong pairing. I could say the same about everyone.

Team Europe

Team Europe

“You go down to Danny and Fitz, two young guys and everybody has been playing wonderful in practise. Victor and Soren, Ross and Chris, and finishing off with Lee and Woody is a very strong pairing, as well.

"There isn't one pairing there that stands out to be stronger than anything else. The team have been, as I said, wonderful to work with this week.

"It's been a pleasure for me to try and figure a few things out. I have had a few ideas and so far they are listening to me. I feel very fortunate and humble that I am their captain this week.”


  1. Ian Poulter & Bernd Wiesberger v Anirban Lahiri & Jeung Hun Wang
  2. Danny Willett & Matt Fitzpatrick v Byeong Hun An &Thingchai Jaidee
  3. Victor Dubiosson & Søren Kjeldsen v Danny Chia & Nicholas Fung
  4. Ross Fisher & Kristoffer Broberg v Prayad Marksaeng & KT Kim
  5. Shane Lowry & Andy Sullivan v Shigo Katayama & Wu Ashun
  6. Lee Westwood & Chris Wood v Kiradech Aphibarnrat & SSP Chawrasia