Tuesday 19 September 2017

'It was almost like a bit of jealousy was setting in' - Shane Lowry on missing out on Ryder Cup

Golfer Shane Lowry speaking during the One Zero Conference at the RDS in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Golfer Shane Lowry speaking during the One Zero Conference at the RDS in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Tom Rooney

The spectre of Lance Armstrong loomed large as the One-Zero conference tentatively began at the RDS this morning.

Armstrong, the man event, sideshow and centrepiece of this inaugural celebration of the symbiosis of sport, technology and media, decided late last night that it was not for him, or at least the prospect of facing journalist Ewan MacKenna in front a packed house wasn’t. 

With no chance of refunds or an even relatively compelling replacement, a sizeable crowd had taken their seats by 9am to hear Shane Lowry speak to Newstalk’s Joe Molloy.

Beforehand, an anonymous lady garbed all in black, addressed us and, in no uncertain terms, declared that not only would the show go on, but it was sure to be box-office stuff. Network while in the company of such exalted industry influencers, we were told.

Lowry proved a candid subject, while his rapport with Molloy was natural and fruitful.

To that end, Molloy did not hesitate in asking Lowry to account for his implosion in the final round of this year’s US Open.

Heading into that now infamous last round, the Offaly native enjoyed a four-shot lead at Oakmont, but bogeyed four of his first 10 holes, and was soon overtaken by eventual winner Dustin Johnson. And with that, a first Major once again eluded him.

The 29-year-old revealed that, of late, he has not been enjoying partaking in his profession. An incessant inner monologue of self-criticism has proven exhausting.

Shane Lowry during the US Open
Shane Lowry during the US Open

Having set the goal of making this year’s Ryder Cup team, his inability to do so took a considerable toll.

“When you’re going through a bad time and you’re playing badly, it’s hard to enjoy your golf. But one of the reasons why you are playing badly is because you’re not enjoying your golf, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.

“The harder you try to enjoy it, the harder it is to enjoy. You’ve just got to let it take its course, and one of the things I do is take a break to try and get the hunger back.

“I took five weeks off, and I’ve really enjoyed the last two weeks and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

He also attributes some of his renewed vigour to working with sports psychologist Gerry Hussey, who Lowry will meet for a session later today.

Previous attempts to forge a similar relationship with Enda McNulty had not yielded the results Lowry was looking for. Hussey, however, has proven a better fit.

“I obviously knew who Gerry and was and was introduced to him through my manager. I had been thinking of doing for a while and I’m happy now that I’ve gone and done. I just wished I had started it earlier.

“I had a couple of sessions (with Enda McNulty). Enda is obviously very good at what he does, and has done great work with the Irish rugby team, I just didn’t really find it was for me at the time.

“I just find Gerry a little more relaxing, and this is a bit more about me as a person”, he said.

Of the Ryder Cup, Lowry found being a spectator a less than enjoyable ordeal, particularly because he felt he could have had an influence on proceedings as the US Team won with a relative ease.

“It was hard. The Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, when I saw them heading off and the team photograph and stuff, it was almost like a bit of jealousy was setting in, but when I started watching it, I was obviously cheering them on.

“I wish I could have had a part to play in it, but that’s just the way it is. I just move on.

“I know I could have done alright if I was there. That’s just the person I am, if you put me anywhere in golf, I think I can do alright. But there was nothing I could do about it.”

His schedule for the remainder of the season is jam-packed and, having yet to reach his 30th birthday, Lowry is adamant that he can join the ranks of the Major winners and play his part in the 2018 Ryder Cup.

“People say that at the time about the US Open, most people don’t win at their first attempt – it took Dustin a few attempts to win it. But that doesn’t make it alright not to win it, that’ doesn’t make it okay. I’ve got at least10-15 years left at the top of the game. I think I'll have hopefully a few more chances to get one (major).”

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