by Ronan MacNamara
Shane Lowry by Golffile
A highly motivated Shane Lowry is chomping at the bit to get his 2022 season underway and has set some lofty ambitions for the year ahead.
The Clara native is determined to sew up a place on Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup team in Rome as early as possible as he aims to make amends for the continent’s record 19-9 defeat to USA at Whistling Straits last September.
The 34-year-old was one of the only bright sparks as Pádraig Harrington’s European troops were simply outclassed by a youthful and more talented US side.
Lowry did write himself into Ryder Cup folklore with a tremendous performance in the Saturday evening fourballs as he single-handedly took down Tony Finau and Harris English while his partner Tyrrell Hatton played more of a spectator role.
Clearly, Lowry has the passion and desire to play in future Ryder Cups so playing a home Ryder Cup is one of his big goals going forward.
“Hungry” to get back competing again, Lowry returned to the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida after spending the Christmas break at home in Ireland.
The 2019 Open Champion will return after two months off at the €8 million HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, where he completed a wire to wire win in 2019 just months before lifting the Claret Jug in Portrush that July.
It is two and a half years since Lowry achieved a worldwide win, his last being that joyous day at the Open Championship and he is hungry to add to his CV which also includes a World Golf Championship in 2015 by winning in Abu Dhabi next week where he has missed the cut in successive years.
“I’m really excited to get back playing, and I’ve kind of got my hunger back,” said the world number 45.
“When I take a big break like that, I do get like a hunger back to go practice and go play and fall back in love with the game because it’s an easy game to fall out of love with, but then a few weeks off and you fall back in love with it and you can’t wait to get back.
“Every time I go and tee it up in the Middle East, it’s after a good long break and I don’t really know how it’s going to go because you’ve practiced and you’ve prepared, but you’re just not really sure about how it’s going to go, so you kind of go in with an open mind and just go out and try and play as best golf you can. In 2019 I won in Abu Dhabi and it gave me a great kind of kick start to that season.
“The last two seasons I’ve missed the cut in Abu Dhabi with obviously not the best start to the season. So, it does give you a great stepping-stone if you can knock off one of those first few events at least, whether it be Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or Saudi, any of us that wins there will give us a big confidence builder coming across to kind of start your season over here.
“I’ve set a few goals out. I’m looking forward to the next year or two. I think hopefully I’m coming into a decent part of my career where I feel like I can make some hay and win some tournaments," he added.
After getting his season up and running in Abu Dhabi, Lowry is scheduled to play in the Dubai Desert Classic before boarding a plane to Saudi Arabia for the much-maligned Saudi International after which he will head Stateside to open his PGA Tour campaign.