Shane Lowry gets World Cup shot in arm
FLU victim Shane Lowry got the perfect pick-me-up with the news that he'll make his ISPS Handa World Cup debut for Ireland as Graeme McDowell's wing man in Royal Melbourne from November 21-24.
McDowell and Lowry are the two top-ranked Irish golfers available for the event; world No 4 Rory McIlroy earlier this year firmly ruled himself out of a third World Cup appearance alongside the Portrush man.
According to reports Down Under, McIlroy's contract to play the Australian Open at Royal Sydney the following week precluded him from teeing it up anywhere (in Australia) outside of New South Wales this year.
Like McDowell, Lowry is relishing the opportunity to play the in World Cup at Royal Melbourne, one of the world's most feted links courses.
He gets his chance as next Irish golfer in the global rankings. Lowry is 83rd in the world, 11 ahead of Padraig Harrington.
Since neither plays before Monday's World Cup cut-off, the Clara man's ticket to Melbourne is safe.
Flu forced Lowry out of today's Open d'Italia first round, but he'll be back for next week's Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
His confidence high after a fighting third-place finish behind Joost Luiten at the KLM Open, Damien McGrane is the form man among the six Irish golfers in Turin.
An exhibition match with Canada's Graham DeLaet in Nova Scotia next Monday will be McDowell's last golf engagement before he marries fiancee Kristin Stape in the Bahamas on Saturday week.
World No 11 McDowell resumes his Race to Dubai campaign in the HBC Champions in Shanghai (October 24-27), though the World Cup looms large on his horizon.
"I've won three times, so it has to go down as a great season. It'd be great to round it off by playing well at the World Cup," said McDowell, runner-up with McIlroy in 2009.
"I've been to Melbourne many times and know Royal Melbourne is going to be a great venue. It has a real linksy feel and is my kind of golf course."
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