Shane Lowry sights firmly set on America
SHANE LOWRY'S stock soared in the USA when he knocked world No 1 Rory McIlroy out of the World Match Play Championship, but the Clara star has endured a big share of frustration in 2013.
His recent taste of the action in Tucson and Puerto Rico convinced the 25-year-old that his future inevitably must include full membership of the US PGA Tour. Yet, in the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive, America 'ain't seen nothing yet' of Lowry.
"To be honest, I don't feel I've played well this year," he admitted. "I had a great time in America. I really love it over there. I wasn't too happy when I came back home. I almost feel like I've been getting a lot of pats on the back for not doing much.
"It's time to get back to reality, back to doing what I do best," added Lowry (pictured below), who was speaking at the launch of his new endorsement deal with Dublin stockbrokers Shelbourne Markets.
After several months in which his burning desire to break into the elite top 50 placed him under crushing pressure, Lowry no longer worries about his world ranking.
"Hopefully, I'll get in there at some stage, but I'm trying not to think about it," he said.
"I've actually banned myself from looking at the rankings.
"Since winning in Portugal last October, I've spent nearly five months getting up every Monday morning at 9.0 to check my ranking. What's the point?
"I normally just worry about my next game of golf, so I shouldn't be setting myself specific targets or goals.
"But there are always distractions – like next week when I go to the Shell Houston Open, I'll need to finish top-10 to earn my place at the Texas Open. Yet, even if I finish 11th in Houston, it'll still be a good week.
"From now on, I'm just going out there, playing my golf and seeing where I end up on Sunday evening."
Lowry was 52nd in the world last December and probably would have broken into the global elite had a virulent dose of shingles not confined him to a Dubai hospital bed when he should have been playing in the DP World Championship.
Now ranked 67th, he needs a really hot performance in Houston to force his way into the top 50 and clinch a place at next month's US Masters.
Looking back, he said: "Everyone praised me for beating Rory, but probably the only good round I've had this year was against Carl Pettersson (in the Match Play second round)."
Though loyal to the European Tour and looking forward excitedly to a series of mega-events this summer from Wentworth through the Irish Open at Carton House to the British Open at Muirfield, the Bridgestone and then the US PGA, Lowry knows his long-term future lies in America.
"The world ranking points are better over there and, obviously, the money is too, while there's less travel from event to event," he explained.
"But the main thing is it suits my game over there. I really want to give it a shot and see what I can do."