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'When you're going through a bad time, it's hard to enjoy your golf'

Shane Lowry on his tough year, missing out on the Ryder Cup and using a sports psychologist.

Lowry would give himself a 5/10 for his performance so far in 2016.
Lowry would give himself a 5/10 for his performance so far in 2016.
Image: Peter Byrne

SHANE LOWRY ADMITS he has not had the best of years.

At the US Open, the Irish golfer came desperately close to winning a first major, but aside from that memorable weekend in which he excelled for long periods, the Offaly man acknowledges that he has been off his game in recent times.

“I wouldn’t give myself a very high rating apart from one week (at the US Open). I’d give myself a 5/10. It’s been good, but it’s not been great. It’s not been really bad either. I put my whole year on making the Ryder Cup team and didn’t do that, so it’s been a bit of a disappointment.

But golf’s a funny game, I could go and win next week and it’s been a great year. That’s the way golf is — you’re only one week away from having a great year and being on top of the game. That’s the great thing about it — you’ve always got next week. And if I go and win next week, I’d play the following week and I’ll still want to win the following week. It’s a funny game sometimes.

“I’m still hopeful for the rest of the season. I’m playing alright and I’m looking forward to the rest of it. I think I could do alright the next few weeks.”

Lowry sees enjoying playing as key to success, and the 29-year-old has found it hard to relish the occasion of late.

“When you’re going through a bad time and you’re playing badly, it’s hard to enjoy your golf. But one of the reasons why you are playing badly is because you’re not enjoying your golf, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.

“The harder you try to enjoy it, the harder it is to enjoy. You’ve just got to let it take its course, and one of the things I do is take a break to try and get the hunger back.

“But I took five weeks off, and I’ve really enjoyed the last two weeks and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Missing out on the Ryder Cup was especially tough for Lowry. After his impressive US Open showing, he appeared to be in a strong position to get selected, but some patchy form thereafter put paid to his hopes of making the team.

It was hard. The Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, when I saw them heading off and the team photograph and stuff, it was almost like a bit of jealousy was setting in, but when I started watching it, I was obviously cheering them on.

“I wish I could have had a part to play in it, but that’s just the way it is. I just move on.”

Lowry is hopeful that he still has “10-15 years left at the top of the game,” as he bids to win an elusive major and make up for recent disappointments.

Having dabbled in it in the past, Lowry is now using a sports psychologist (Gerry Hussey) to improve his game. While such details undoubtedly have the potential to make a difference to his game, Lowry insists that the decision won’t make or break him.

I obviously knew who Gerry was and was introduced to him through my manager. It’s something that I had been thinking of doing for a while and I’m happy now that I’ve gone and done it. I just wished I had started it earlier.

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“I had a couple of sessions (with sports psychologist Enda McNulty). Enda is obviously very good at what he does, and has done great work with the Irish rugby team, I just didn’t really find it was for me at the time.

“I just find Gerry a little more relaxing, and this is a bit more about me as a person.

I didn’t think I needed it. It’s not like it is life-changing stuff – some of it is very simple. In my head, it was having someone who was qualified and had a reputation, to tell me. Because my wife or my friends probably could tell me the same thing, but I probably wouldn’t listen to them.

“I’m just trying to live my life happier and better. Not just in golf, but in everything I do.”

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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