JOHN MCHENRY: Shane Lowry now facing career crossroads

Shane Lowry, the 43rd ranked player in the world has endured a frustrating season of occasional highs but more often plagued by the type of inconsistency that led to him missing out on his Ryder Cup debut.

For all of his “proven” big game temperament no one will argue but that Shane has the capability of being a consistent top 20 player in the world but if his 2016 stats are anything to go by, then they would suggest that he is under considerable pressure not to lose more ground — even perhaps his coveted top 50 world ranking position, and with it his automatic entry into all of the major championships and WGC events.

By way of comparison and areas from improvement, I have decided to compare Lowry’s performance last year on the PGA Tour, to that his fellow Europeans — ranked above him, Rory McIlroy (2) Justin Rose (13) and Russell Knox (19), in the accompanying table.

Shane Lowry now facing career crossroads

Off the tee box and approach shots

From Shane Lowry’s perspective, any advantage gained against the field from the tee box, is immediately lost with his approach shots to the greens (125th), where he ranks amongst the PGA Tour’s worst performers. This suggests to me that there is something wrong with Lowry’s approach play strategy — in that he is either too aggressive or that he simply cannot recover sufficiently from his errant tee shots. The good news for Lowry is that this is something he can rectify quite easily.

Around the greens

If you are going to miss a lot of greens, then you had better make sure that you are a good scrambler. Shane Lowry has tremendous vision and ability around the greens but he needs to contrive a better approach play strategy — one that doesn’t short side himself like he consistently did on firm heavily contoured greens at the US Open.

On the putting greens

Being a good putter masks a lot of problems as it carries you through bad moments in your round.

Shane is not a bad putter but he is guilty at times of second guessing himself. The result more often than not is erratic putting. To improve he must have a sound pre-shot routine, one which technically enables him to stand up to pressure situations while giving him the peace of mind.

His tournament rounds

Shane should be very grateful for his strong first-round performances in the tournaments he played last year — even if he fell away somewhat thereafter. They formed the necessary platform for him to consistently make the cut but perhaps the stat that best reflects his inconsistencies in 2016, is the fact that he ranked 145th on the tour in terms of birdies per round averages and 155th for birdie averages on the par 4s and par 5s.

For someone like Shane, this must spell danger, as it means that much like his Ryder Cup run, unless he fundamentally improves his game he will never get into contention as often as he would like.


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