It's Lowry time — Shane eyes global game but vows to remain true to himself

It's Lowry time — Shane eyes global game but vows to remain true to himself
Shane Lowry during round four of The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, where he tied for ninth. Picture Fran Caffrey,

Shane Lowry during round four of The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, where he tied for ninth. Picture Fran Caffrey,

Shane Lowry believes he’s ready to chase the American Dream on the PGA Tour and play the kind of global schedule that could make him a Ryder Cup player and an Olympian in 2016. Just don't expect him to start changing now and become a calculating, greens-in-regulation hitting plodder. As he said in Dublin yesterday: "I hate laying up on par fives... that’s the way I play golf."

After battling his way into the world’s top 50 with a gruelling end of season schedule, the 27-year old Clara man says he now needs the next seven weeks off to refuel the machine for the biggest season of his life.

He's looking forward to the Christmas break with his fiancée Wendy after a bumper, €2m season. But he's also got one eye on 2015 and a season that will offer him all he ever dreamed of — a place in all the game's big tournaments and the chance to take that final step into the golfing stratosphere. For now, though, it's all about Christmas jumper, pints with his mates and X-Factor on the couch with the future Mrs Lowry.

“I feel like I need a break,"the Clara man explained at Horizon Sports Management HQ on the Grand Canal in Dublin. "I feel I need time to get my hunger back for the game. I don’t know how that is going to read but I’ve just played 11 events in 14 weeks with a lot of different time zones and a lot of travel and it caught up with me in the end. 

“I think I need to schedule better for next year and play in tournaments I wan to play in and can do well in.”

He's planning to skip the European Tour’s Desert Swing if he can secure some invitations for the PGA Tour's West Coast swing, hopefully starting with the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. If not, he'll play Dubai and then head to the US.

“I’d like to take a month in January to get ready for that and the season that’s ahead rather than being thrown in the deep end with three events in a row in the desert," he said. “I’d really like to play both tours because even through I played a bit in the US last year, I didn’t have a great time because I wasn’t doing too well.

“It was all a bit rushed, getting invites the week before events and playing different types of courses and different greens every week. It was too much too quick I will be more comfortable in the surroundings next year.”

Lowry is now 44th in the world which means he can look forward to playing all the majors and the World Golf Championships with an invitation to Augusta National scheduled to drop through the letterbox over the next week of two. He can play up to 12 events as a non member as he attempts to win his PGA Tour card and as he's already in the four majors and the four WGCs, he thinks that should be more than enough to do the job.

The new schedule represents a step up for the 27-year old from Clara but he has no intention of changing his style of play. In fact, reckons he’s already a strong enough player to have played in the Ryder Cup this year, never mind in two years' time.

“I think if you had thrown me onto the first tee in Gleneagles it would have been no bother,” he said. “The standard in Europe is so good that if you put anyone that was top 30 in the Race to Dubai on the team, they would all perform well. 

“I definitely feel I am good enough for the Ryder Cup without doubt. I have played with all the guys who were on the team and a few on the American team. Do I feel I could compete against them? Definitely.”

The Masters is going to be one of the highlights of the year but Lowry has no plans to change his aggressive style or put more store on that event over other.

Though he admits he might be tempted to "rock up" early for a practice round at the Masters venue if he's in the US close to the time, he might change his mind.

What he won't be changing is the aggressive way he plays the game, though he does concede that a little more course management at the right time might allow him to contend a few times more each season. He spoken about this year during a road trip with Graeme McDowell and Peter Cowen in China. But he's not for changing just yet.

"Maybe I haven't won more because I drop a lot of silly shots. But I’m just a very aggressive golfer. Unless the pin is cut near the water, I am going at the pin. That’s the way I have played golf all my life and what I enjoy. "

Laughing he added: "In fact, even if it’s cut near the water, I’m probably still going to go for it! If I played more sensible golf and dropped fewer shots, I might contend more, but being aggressive is the reason I make more birdies. My short game is so good I feel I can get it up and down no matter what.

"We were in Sun City last week and we were looking at greens within greens. My caddie Dermot was saying, we were better of going for that flag rather than aiming for the middle of the green and leaving myself 30 feet, because if I miss the green, statistically I probably have a better chance of chipping in that I do of holing a 30 footer."

Two tournament wins since 2009 looks like a poor return for Lowry but while he might have shot himself in the foot a few times, he's hoping the wins will come along like buses when his luck turns.

"It’s hard to win golf tournaments," said Lowry, who was second to Rory McIlroy at Wentworth and ninth in The Open. "If things had gone my way in the last couple of years, I could have a notched a couple of wins under my belt. Dunhill Links last year, Wentworth and Wales this year. If I can get myself into contention two or three times more a year, the law of averages says you are going to win a few."

He sees no reason why he can't contend at Augusta either and admits that he finds it easier to get up for the big weeks that the smaller early season events in Europe.

“I just love the big events and the buzz of the big crowds and that’s why I’ve done well in the Open and at Wentworth," he said.

“I think if you go and play well, you can win any tournament. Yeah, history says first timers don’t win the Masters but I think no matter what tournament it is, if you play well, you have a chance.”

As for the Ryder Cup and the Olympics in 2016, he added: “Rory is a shoo in now for the Olympics and it’s between me and Graeme for the next spot unless all three of us are in the top 15 in the world.

“The big goal is Ryder Cup in 2016 and if I can do that the rest will take care of itself. The thing about golf is that if you do one thing, you do them all. 

“If I play well for two years and make the Olympic team, I will make the Ryder Cup team because you are obviously going to be winning.”

As for what he needs to change, he said: “There are a few things I need to improve but I’m far more consistent now. My bad score at the start of the year was 75 and now it’s 72.

“So I don’t think I need to change anything. I think I’ve done alright and I am in a nice upward progression.

"The way the last six months has gone, there has never been a week where I have played badly. When I did get that boost in confidence after May, I kicked on from there and I was quite consistent, never really shooting bad scores.

"I think it’s something I will bring forward to next year. I can’t put my finger on what it was but if you could, you’d bottle it for next year for sure.  My consistency the whole year is the reason I am where I am and why I’ll be playing Augusta in a few months." 

With arguments like that, why would the man feel the need to change at all.