Texas on his mind, but Lowry home on range

He doesn’t treasure many memories from his adventures in America last year, but Shane Lowry would love to be back stateside this week as the world’s finest golfers descend on San Antonio for the Valero Texas open.

Texas on his mind, but Lowry home on range

It was there 12 months ago the Offaly man tied for 15th and pocketed over $90,000 for his week’s work: a rare stab of light in the gloom of nine tournaments which, that aside, delivered only another $50,000 combined. Instead, he will spend the week here at home in Ireland working on his game before heading to Spain early for the NH Collection Open at the La Reserva de Sotogrande Club on the southern end of the Iberian peninsula.

Broadway it ain’t.

A co-hosted event between the European Tour and the Challenge Tour, it will serve as a competitive prep for the coming summer which he will turn towards via events in Malaysia and China before returning to the European mainland.

He admits it himself. He’d prefer to be in Texas. “I didn’t play well (in America), which is the reason why I said afterwards I didn’t really like it over there, but if you did play well over there you would like it. The one tournament I did play well in was the Texas Open and that’s on this week.

“I finished about 15th in that last year and really enjoyed it. I wanted to go back there this year but couldn’t. I’d like to go over there again and try my hand at it. I’d never, ever give up my card in Europe, but I would like to give America a go again.”

At the time, he just couldn’t figure the place out.

Flying over and back from Ireland and Europe to the US caused problems. The speed of the greens there were ridiculous, like six-lane motorways compared to sedate country roads, and his results screamed culture shock.

Tied for 12th at the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth one week, he missed the cut at the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio the next. An horrendous time at the US Open was followed by strong placings at the BMW International in Germany and the Irish Open.

“It did take a while to get used to America,” he reflected. “I’d love to have my card there, just to have a few months to settle in and see how I do, I think I’d do alright. But it remains to be seen, I suppose.”

Teeing up at the Masters, and maybe a few events like the Valero Texas Open, is one of the long-term goals he has set himself this year. He will have to win to earn a place in the world’s top 50 and do it.

“Yeah, I’m going to have to win a big one. Or two or three. You never know. Win as many as I can!”

The problem is his form. Or the lack of it.

Five tournaments this year have produced three missed cuts, just two sub-70 rounds out of 14 and earned him €14,062, but he is clearly counting on a change of approach getting him back to the Promised Land.

So many golfers talk about the mechanics of swing and posture when they give interviews. Lowry didn’t mention anything like that. Instead, he has stepped back from the minautae and examined the bigger picture.

“It is not about focusing week on week, which is what I was doing last year. I was going in to every tournament trying to finish in such and such a position to try to get to here and here. I was going out and putting myself under a lot of pressure and a lot of stress.

“I was in bad form all the time because of it, I was uptight all the time, I was anxious all the time about playing well. I sat down and wrote things down for myself. When you write things down it makes you see them a little bit better and clearer.”

On reflection, it may have all been too easy for him too soon. An Irish open champion whilst still an amateur, he followed it up with the Portugal Masters three years later in 2012 and, at one time, he floated around the fringes of that top 50 elite.

He took the point but adds that he is more mature now. He’ll be 27 next week and looks at what a 33-year old Graeme McDowell has and is doing. “I’m young and I have plenty of time. I’m just trying to keep doing what I’m doing.”

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