'To be European Number One would be really special': Lowry targeting Dubai finale to dream year

'To be European Number One would be really special': Lowry targeting Dubai finale to dream year
AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Shane Lowry will sit down with the family for Christmas dinner in seven weeks' time and bask in the warm glow of an unforgettable season.

The Open champion knows that whether or not he comes from behind to win the Race to Dubai, the Claret Jug will be glittering on the sideboard and he'll still have another week off before he heads to Dubai to get ready for his defence of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title from January 16.

While the Offaly star would love to put the cherry atop a brilliant campaign by becoming European number one, he's already focussing on getting the best out of himself in 2020 and making sure he qualifies for Pádraig Harrington's Ryder Cup team.

"The main objective for the next two tournaments is to try and win the Race to Dubai," Lowry said at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal ahead of the Turkish Airlines Open, which will be his penultimate start of the year before the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in a fortnight.

"People might argue that if you are trying to win the Race to Dubai, you should be going to Sun City [next week]. But I think it is all going to come down to who plays the best in Dubai really."

While Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger will head from Antalya to South Africa for next week's Nedbank Golf Challenge, Lowry has broken 70 there just one in 16 tournament rounds and opted to pass.

"I have left Sun City the last few years not really full of confidence," he said. "But I like it here and will go straight to Dubai to practice next week and get ready for the final event."

Ranked third in the Race to Dubai, just 651 points behind Wiesberger with 1,500 points on offer for the winner this week, he's being careful to resist the temptation to play too much golf as the season winds down and plans to play only in Turkey and Dubai before he downs tools for seven weeks.

"I think it would be the icing on the cake," he said of winning the Race to Dubai. "I'm going to give it my best shot, but if I don't win it, I won't be too disappointed. I've had a decent year and I'd be pretty happy with what I've got at Christmas.

It's my main goal over the next few weeks to perform as best as I can and go to the final 18 holes in Dubai, it would be lovely to have a chance to win the Race to Dubai. To be European Number One would be really special and would add to the year I've had.

Chasing big appearance fees in end of season events is a temptation Lowry has resisted as he knows he may regret overdoing it when the going gets tough in spring and early summer.

"I have had various offers from around the world to play in December," said Lowry, whose stated goal is to make the Ryder Cup team next year.

"But I've talked a lot about my end goal for the last 12 months and to give myself the best opportunity of achieving that, this is the best way to do it.

"It is very difficult to turn down the offers that you get. There are events in Australia, and you could down there and chase a bit of money but looking at the bigger picture, I have to do what's best for me.

"It's going to be a busy season next year, so maybe it will stand to me around Augusta time or around the PGA."

He's turned down the chance of winning $1 million (and a guaranteed $100,000) by crossing Tiger Woods' Hero World Challenge off his list and opted not to play the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.

"My off-season is going to be between Dubai and Abu Dhabi," Lowry said. "There's a seven-week break, so I will have time off at home and go early to Dubai as I did this year and get ready to start in Abu Dhabi.

"We've had a lot of approaches and I've just had to say 'no'. It's a nice luxury to have. But I feel if I am going to perform well next year, it is something I have to do."

As for the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, he's looking forward to getting to Mount Juliet, but he's not going to be the host.

"I feel as though I am too young into my career to be playing host to an Irish Open," he said, adding with a knowing grin, "and besides it would be nice to win a couple more Majors before I go down that path!"

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