Watch out America, Shane Lowry believes he has “gained the respect” he feels he deserves in the US and will be ready to “come out all guns blazing in January” to improve on his memorable 2015.
The Clara man’s best season ends at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City next week and while he had a disappointing Final Series on the European Tour, finishing 20 shots behind Rory McIlroy in a tie for 48th in the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, he's determined to build on the mental boost he got by winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and use America as the key to his 2016 campaign.
While he fell three spots to 21st in the latest world rankings, the 28-year old Offaly star is up 23 spots on his position 12 months ago and looking to step up again next year and make Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team.
He’ll get his first taste of what it’s like to play on a European team when he plays in the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM in Malaysia from January 15-17.
But after that he will be spending most of the next five months in America and he’ll be looking to come home for the Irish Open with his Ryder Cup spot well in hand.
Speaking to Meridian Media’s Denis Kirwan after the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Sunday, Lowry refected on 2015 and how his breakthrough win in the US in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone could prove crucial to him mentally when it comes to competing in the US.
He gleaned huge pleasure from delivering under pressure in Akron, explaining: “It’s great to be able to look back on that and say that you did it when it mattered.
"Going to America next year now will be easier becuase I will get decent draws. You almost gain that little bit more respect.
"I remember Thomas Bjorn came up to me at the PGA after I won and he said, ‘I’ve been trying for years to win over there and if feels harder going over there where you haven’t won.’
“The fact that I have won over there now, I feel I have gained that little bit of respect I feel I deserve.”
Though he was tied ninth in the US Open, Lowry missed the cut by a stroke in the other three majors this year.
But he believes that he isn’t too far away from finding the right balance in major weeks and he’s looking forward to planning his 2016 season around “historic venes” Augusta National, Oakmont, Royal Troon and Baltusrol respectively.
He’s also hoping to make his Ryder Cup debut under Darren Clarke at Hazeltine in Minnesota in September and playing well in those majors will be crucial to getting there after a poor end to the European Tour campaign meant he missed the chance to make a significant move up the Ryder Cup qualifying lists.
“It would have been nice to put some points on the board but a little mental fatigue set in over the last few weeks,” said Lowry, who has opted to target the World Points list as he’s playing exclusively in the US until the Irish Open in mid May.
“It’s difficult at times to snap yourself out of that. And that’s really where I went wrong. I am just going to have to come out all guns blazing in January.”
On his end of the European Tour season, he preferred to relfect on the positives that went before rather than the flat finish
“I’m disappinted with the last three weeks,” he said. "Maybe I tried a bit hard to do well but is just difficult at times. I am a litte bit down now with the way I played today but that’s just the way I am.
"I try to look forward rather than look behind. But it’s been a great season and to win a WGC this year is more than I could have asked for.
"I don’t know where I am going to be in the world rankings by the end of the year but definitely the top 25 and the Top 5 in the Race to Dubai. So again, it is another year of progression.
"I feel like I am getting better and every year. I feel like I am progressing in the game. So if I can better this year, next year, I will be standing in this position happy enough again.”