Monday 16 July 2018

Hatton's change in fortunes can inspire Lowry to a strong finish

Hatton was down in the dumps after successive missed cuts at the US PGA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Hatton was down in the dumps after successive missed cuts at the US PGA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Shane Lowry can take inspiration from Tyrrell Hatton's virtual rags-to-riches story which transformed his season and ignited his bid to play in the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris.

Hatton, a temperamental player who wears his heart on his sleeve, particularly when the game is going against him, was down in the dumps after successive missed cuts at the US PGA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August.

The Englishman went to Switzerland for the Omega Masters in September and finished in a tie for third place, setting him up for an amazing October in which he finished tied-eighth at the British Masters and claimed successive victories in the Dunhill Links Championship and the Italian Open.

Out of nothing, it seems, Hatton has jumped to 17th in the World ranking; lies fifth in the Race to Dubai, and leads the European Ryder Cup points standings in both the European and World lists.

It's still very early to be thinking about the Ryder Cup, but the transformation in Hatton's fortunes underlines the vagaries of this individual and highly competitive sport.

The point is not lost on Lowry, who over a five-week spell, has moved to 61st in the R2D race, just one place outside the top 60 who play in the season-ending DP World Tour championship in Dubai in December.

He stands 81st in the world, and left Valderrama after a tied-12 finish with some regrets, but overall in positive mood. A week off this week, and then two Rolex Series events in Turkey and South Africa offer further opportunities to make that top-60 for Dubai and improve his world ranking.

Speaking to Ireland's Meridian Media, Lowry spoke of the turbulent emotions that professional golf can evoke in a player.

Tough

"It's tough at the top level of world golf. You can be quite close one week, then you go out and have a bad week the next week," he said.

"You might feel like your game's not there at all and go out and have a good week. It's just a funny game, but it's a great game to play.

"I'm very lucky to be playing golf for my living, but yeah, it drives me mad at times. You can't force anything. You just have to keep doing what you think is right, and that's what I do.

"I get a lot of criticism from here, there, and everywhere, but people at home, I think, don't realise how hard it is out here.

"It's one of the toughest sports in the world, if you look at it numbers-wise to compete in, but I'm not going to stand here making excuses as to why I haven't had a good season, or why I feel like I haven't had a good season.

"My game is definitely not far away. In this game you're never too far away from a good week."

Pádraig Harrington was tied-27th in a tournament won by Masters champion and host Sergio Garcia. Unlike Lowry, who rates Valderrama as one of his favourite courses in the world, Harrington is not a fan of the lay-out, but did not offer any excuses.

"I should have done a little bit better. I suppose you feel that way every tournament except the ones you win.

"I've got plenty to work on. This wouldn't be my favourite style of golf course, so it was a lot of hard work during the week at times.

"I had it going somewhat in the last round. Missed a few putts and I lost momentum," he said.

Paul Dunne took a break last week ahead of his debut in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai which starts on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Paul McGinley showed that his game is in good shape, despite limited senior Tour outings due to business and television duties, by finishing joint second in the European Senior Masters at Forest of Arden.

McGinley, playing only his fourth event on the European over-50s circuit, closed on one-under, a shot behind winner Stephen Dodd.

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