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Lowry has fire back in the belly for shot at Major glory


On course: Shane Lowry during yesterday’s practice round at Quail Hollow. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
On course: Shane Lowry during yesterday’s practice round at Quail Hollow. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

By Brian Keogh

'Frustrated', 'disheartened' and 'angry' are not words you'd normally associate with Shane Lowry but after slipping out of the world's top 50 the Offaly native plans to move his family to the US next year in an attempt to get his career back on track.

Exactly two years ago, the Clara man came to the US PGA riding the crest of a wave following his breakthrough PGA Tour win in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, rising as high as 18th in the world.

This week, he arrived in Charlotte as the world No 83, and forced to sit out the trip to Akron and "disheartened" with the game and the difficulty of playing on both sides of the pond, he was so depressed after missing the cut in The Open and the RBC Canadian Open that he sought a face-to-face chat with mental coach Gerry Hussey to get himself up for this week's Major challenge.

Even Pádraig Harrington admitted this week that he is asking himself exactly why he is still playing both tours, but for 30-year-old Lowry to fall to such a low is disturbing and he's taken action to redress the situation.

"Playing both tours has been very hard on me these last few years and I feel like that has been my downfall to be honest," he said at Quail Hollow yesterday.

"It has been too hard for me. It has been too hard to keep my world ranking and you end up not being in all the big tournaments."

Lowry took up PGA Tour membership when he captured the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational two years ago but having fallen out of the world's top 50 last January, the harsh reality of his situation hit home when he was forced to watch the action in Akron on TV last week.

Announcing plans to move to Florida with his wife Wendy and baby daughter Iris, he said: "Not playing in Akron last week was tough, especially after winning the event such a short time ago.

"But I have plans to move to America for a few months next year. So I am going to concentrate full time on the PGA Tour next year and see what happens.

"I think we are going to rent a place in Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. I have been travelling too much and I have not seen enough of the girls and to have them with me most of the time will be nice.

"We are very lucky we have the chance to live in a nice place with nice weather and some good golf, and I won't have to deal with jet lag as much so that is the plan.

"My main goal between now and December is to get back into the top 50 and to do that I am going to have to play in Europe for most of the rest of the year."

While Lowry is exempt in the US until the end of next year, he's ranked 146th in the FedEx Cup points standings with only the top 125 after next week's Wyndham Championship making the Play-offs.

"I feel like I am going chasing it a bit this week," he said of the urgency of his situation.

"I left Canada a couple of weeks ago very disheartened with my whole game and I was struggling to find interest to go and practise.

"I was pretty down about the whole thing because I feel like I had been going well going into The Open and all of a sudden at The Open and Canada, two bad weeks, and I feel like my summer is almost behind me.

"So I took some time to reflect last week and I am going to give it my best. If I can sharpen up my short game a little bit I can do okay."

It's little wonder he sought out mental coach Hussey last Friday for a heart-to-heart, confessing that he came away feeling great again and "ready to compete".

While some players are too hard on themselves, Lowry believes he needs to be even more self-critical so he can get those competitive juices flowing.

"If anything, I think I have not been hard enough on myself," he ventured.

"I can be too hard on myself at times and I do need to get that fire back in my belly, and get that bit of anger out every now and then.

"There is no harm in that and that is the kind of person I am.

"I am not saying that I am going to be going mad each week but there is no harm showing that I care and that I really want to do well."


Selected tee times for the First Round of the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow: (USA unless stated, all times GMT)

Starting at Hole 1

1.30 L Oosthuizen (Rsa), D Willett (Eng), JB Holmes; 6.25 P Mickelson, J Dufner, J Walker 6.35 R McIlroy (NI), R Fowler, J Rahm (Spa) 6.45 M Kuchar, C Kirk, J Rose (Eng)

Starting at Hole 10

12.25pm S Lowry (Irl), S Deane, P Larrazabal (Spa); 1.15 B Watson, C Schwartzel (Rsa), P Casey (Eng) 1.25 B Koepka, S Garcia (Spa), J Spieth 1.35 D Johnson, J Day (Aus), H Stenson (Swe) 1.45 P Harrington (Irl), K Bradley, D Love III 1.55 Z Johnson, L Westwood (Eng), C Hoffman (Can); 7.0 B Haas, G McDowell (NI), M Laird (Sco)

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