Tuesday 25 June 2019

Lowry mulls over giving up PGA card to boost Ryder Cup bid

Shane Lowry. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane Lowry. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry is seriously considering not taking up his PGA Tour card next season to give himself the best possible platform to contend for Ryder Cup and Major championship glory.

The Clara man (32) lost his US card last year and while he's poised to win it back with a strong summer - after his tie for eighth in the US PGA catapulted him into the top 125 in the FedExCup standings - he believes concentrating on Europe as a top-50 player may be the better bet if he wants to play under Pádraig Harrington at Whistling Straits next year.

"I think I need to manage my schedule better," said Lowry, who played just 13 counting events towards the European Points List for the 2018 Ryder Cup and fell between two stools, finishing 19th in the European Points List and 21st in the World Points List in the race for just eight spots in Thomas Bjorn's team.

"If I get my PGA Tour card back, which I have a good chance of doing, I need to sit down and have a long, hard think about what I am going to do.

"I am not sure that playing both tours is the way forward for me. I don't think I play enough events on either tour and I end up in no-man's land, playing 15 events in America and another 10 or 15 events in Europe.

"I don't think that works well for me. If I get my schedule right, which I think I have done this year, and set my stall out at the start of the year with the schedule, I have to play and stick to that, I can go from there.

"I think my focus will have to switch from one to another and I will have to strongly think about not taking my PGA Tour card. That would be in my thoughts."

Now ranked 41st in the world, Lowry enjoys an elite schedule as he qualifies for all the Majors and World Golf Championships, as well as The Players at Sawgrass.

Making Harrington's European team is a huge goal and with the Dubliner reducing the number of wildcards from four to three, Lowry believes he would have a better chance of winning one of five spots on the European Points List than the four available from the World Points List when the race begins at the BMW PGA at Wentworth in September.

"I want to play Ryder Cups and I want to contend in Majors, so if you play the European Tour from the top 50 in the world, I think you can play a very good schedule for the whole year," he said at Baltray yesterday, where he reflected on the 10th anniversary of his breakthrough win in 2009 and looked ahead to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch next month.

"It's something to think about going forward," he added.

"You'd probably need to be top 30 in the world to make the European team. I sat down at Christmas and decided that's what I want to do for the next two years and that's still my main goal.

"I want to cement myself in the top 50. The three wildcards suits me better (than four), and if there were no wildcards, it would be better for me.

"Rookies rarely get a pick so I'd have a better chance of qualifying."

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