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Interview with Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry sat down with All Square at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The world #19 reflects on an amazing 2019 season, the Olympics and the Ryder Cup.

Let’s maybe take it back 12 months to your start of 2019 and how this event here, a win here sort of kick start quite a memorable season.

Yeah, I suppose it’s amazing, the difference a year can make. Coming into this event last year, I was sort of maybe 80th in the world or something, and you know, I had not great form. I had been playing okay the few months previous, but not unbelievable, and for a couple years, and didn’t know what 2019 was going to bring. You know what, I just did what I do, and tried my best and went out and gave it 100 percent the whole year.

Very fortunately, it was obviously my best year-to-date. I couldn’t really envisaged what happened. It was obviously really nice to get off to an unbelievable start here, winning one of the biggest events on Tour. This course, this tournament, against this field every year is a really, really difficult tournament to win, and it obviously kick-started an unbelievable season.

Coming back in 2020, do you set new goals, or what do you look to achieve in this event moving forwards?

I think I might be silly — I’ve set little goals. Obviously I have goals in my head. I don’t write them down. I don’t do any of that. So I have it in my head what I want to achieve this year, and like the main thing for me is make that Ryder Cup Team, and I’ve kind of set my schedule out, I’ve set everything out to do that.

But I think I need to just bring it back to basics and back to what I do best, and that’s just being the best version of myself every day, and that’s all I can do. That’s all I did, sort of we talked about it a lot last winter and we talked about it a lot this winter again, and just going out to shoot the best score I can every day. Look, I go out tomorrow, might be 72, it might be 62, but I know it’s the best I can do and I’ve prepared as well as I can. I think if I do that for the whole season, I’ll get to where I want to be.

Is it possible to kind of gauge how much an influence winning here had on what happened at Portrush six months later?

Look, there’s no doubt that it had a positive impact on my life and my career, and mentally my attitude going forward. Like there’s no doubt it had a good influence on that.

You don’t know, you just kind of — it’s hard to probably put your finger on how much of an influence it had on it, but obviously it did. It definitely did have an influence. There’s no doubt.

Winning is one thing. Coping with winning is another. How well do you think you’ve done the coping with winning, and how well — could you give us an example of things that you have done exceptionally well and things which perhaps with hindsight you might have done slightly different?

I think I’ve coped quite well. With the back end of last season, I probably tried a little bit too hard in The Race to Dubai. Probably forced it a little bit too much and put a bit too much pressure on myself.

As regards winning here and winning The Open last year, I think I dealt quite well with it. Look, obviously there’s a little bit more attention on you, and like I look at last week, last week was probably the first week where I’ve gone as one of the star attractions to go and play a golf tournament and I felt like I coped with it very well.

Obviously I’m here this week as defending champion and I’ve got great group tomorrow, Tommy and Brooks. It’s exciting to be in those pairings. Look, it’s nice to be playing with those guys and be playing with the top players in the world. It’s where I see I’m at at the minute with my game.

Yeah, I do feel like — I don’t have any regrets for last sort of six, seven months. I feel like I’ve coped with it quite well, actually, yeah.

You just mentioned The Race to Dubai. I’m sure winning The Race to Dubai would be one of your goals this year. How do you balance your schedule between, say, America and Europe, because you’d be pretty much in demand on the PGA Tour, too.

Yeah, look, I think I’ve played both tours now for a few years, and I think the new schedule actually suits the guys who play both tours a little bit better. You can come here, play the Middle East at the start of the year, and then I basically move shop to America until — it will be The Irish Open this year, which will be in May, and then obviously go back a little bit for a couple tournaments in America.

I just think it works out quite well. It is quite difficult. You do need to play well in the big events. Like you do need to pick a schedule that works for you and you need to pick golf courses that work for you, and when you’re there, you need to play well.

It is a little bit more difficult playing both tours, but look, it’s kind of where you want to be. You know, it’s exactly where I want to be. I’m looking forward to the challenge of it this year.

What about the Olympics? That’s another one thrown in, once in four years?

Look, it’s a very busy schedule this year. When I look at my schedule during the summer, it’s incredibly busy, just back and forth to the States, and then obviously off to Japan for the Olympics and then back hopefully for FedExCup and hopefully on to The Ryder Cup, and it’s just it is incredibly busy.

But look, the Olympics is going to be exciting. I’ve never played, so hopefully I can go there this year. I think for me, we don’t win too many Gold Medals in Ireland, so if you’re able to bring one back to Ireland, I think that would be very, very special.

On a similar theme, you mentioned earlier one of your main goals is to make The Ryder Cup Team. Does that manifest itself in any schedule changes, and has your great mate Pádraig had any words on that?

We actually don’t talk about it at all. It’s not that we’ve made a conscious decision not to talk about it. We just don’t talk about it.

My schedule is pretty much — it’s very similar to what I played last year. You know, there’s a few courses, I think we talked about it last week, as well. Hong Kong is a course that quite suits my game I think. I think I need to really look at and pick courses that suit me and that I’ve done well on in the past and make sure I go back there.

As regards the way the schedule is this year, it’s so tight that the tournaments are there. It almost does itself for you. I am playing a lot of golf this year, and I don’t have that many breaks, but you know, that’s the way it is because the season’s just the way it is.

But I’m not adding anything. I’m not not playing anything. Obviously I’m just — when I play, I’m going to have to play well.

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