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'I want to make the Ryder Cup and win' - Shane Lowry's big aim for 2021


Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty Images

Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty Images

Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty Images

Shane Lowry has made winning the Ryder Cup his number-one goal for this year, but he knows he's his own worst enemy when it comes to making that happen.

The Open champion (33) was never a contender for Thomas Bjorn's side in 2018 and after admitting in Abu Dhabi yesterday that he "messed up" when trying to qualify for Darren Clarke's side at Hazeltine in 2016, he's determined not to repeat his mistakes.

"I've probably let it get in the way in previous years," Lowry conceded ahead of his 2021 debut in this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he won in 2019 to kick-start a Major-winning season.

"I've only really had one good chance of making the Ryder Cup team and I messed that up myself, let's be honest. That was in 2016 for Darren's team. The way I am now and the way my career path has gone, I'm more mature and ready to take that next step and make the team.

"It's just up to me to get there my own way, let myself play golf. I know how good I can play, I just need to try and let that happen, keep working hard and hopefully I'm on that plane, not only going there but winning the trophy as well."

Currently outside the nine automatic qualifiers for Pádraig Harrington's side, Lowry hopes he can qualify automatically and avoid putting a friend in an awkward spot when it comes to his three wildcards.

"It's funny, we never talk about it," said Lowry, who is joined in a star-studded Abu Dhabi field by Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. "I don't want to leave it to him to have to pick me, because I know how hard a decision that would be. If I'm playing great golf and deserve a pick, I deserve one, end of story.

"But I don't want to have to depend on one. I want to make the team and he knows that more than anything. I'm going to be doing my best.

"If, for some reason, I don't make the team and I'm playing good enough golf, I might deserve a pick."

Harrington has tweaked the Ryder Cup qualifying system to get a form team, multiplying points won between now and May by 1.5 and doubling them from then onwards.

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"What they've done with the points is great for the likes of me who is outside the team at the minute," added Lowry, who spent two weeks practising in Florida, with his coach Neil Manchip flying out for the final week.

"I get the chance to make up points over the next eight months. I'm happy with that and hopefully I can make as many as is enough to get in the team."

With a schedule consisting almost entirely of huge events, he reckons the season will be a success if he wins again this year.

"Get another win and head to America in September and win the Ryder Cup - that's my goal. To focus on myself and try and get another win on the board soon enough and then hopefully go to Whistling Straits in September and bring back the Ryder Cup to Europe," he said.

The Offaly man, who was caught saying 'you f***ing idiot' after hitting the ball in the water at the 2016 Honda Classic, also suggested the use of 'hot mics' should be reviewed after Justin Thomas was overheard using a homophobic slur after missing a putt in Hawaii earlier this month.

"I got caught out before. I got penalised for it. It's tricky. You're out there under high-pressure situations. I'm not condoning what anyone says . . . but if people keep getting caught out and people don't like what they're hearing, maybe it's time to keep them a bit further from us."

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