Shane Lowry has given himself a chance to move closer to his goal of a place in the top 50 of the world rankings after qualifying for this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
He will get another chance at next week’s ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf when he partners Graeme McDowell as Ireland’s representatives at Royal Melbourne.
And if he hasn’t cracked the top 50 by then, well, he will head into the winter break determined to get himself in the best possible shape to get the job done as soon as possible in 2014.
The talented Lowry has often had negative connotations attached to his fitness. An interesting conference call with the 26-year-old Clara golfer last week before the European Tour’s penultimate Race To Dubai event, the Turkish Airlines Open, could easily have resulted in a continuation of that negativity concerning body shapes and the athletic frames perceived as necessary for success on Tour.
But if anything, Lowry revealed himself to be in the best possible shape any golfer can hope to be in.
For in a sport that requires every ounce of mental strength and well-being if goals are to be met, Lowry showed that he is more than comfortable in his own skin and made a good case for arguing that such contentedness can be just as beneficial as hours and hours spent in the gym lifting weights when it comes to winning golf.
“I will do a few things differently,” he said of his off-season plans. “I have got five weeks off which I have never really used properly. I have a plan in place for December and you will see me coming out in January all guns blazing. I get questioned quite a lot about my fitness and stuff like that... I’ll do a little bit on that. I’ll go away for maybe a week in the middle of December and do a bit of practice with Neil (Manchip, his coach) and just be more disciplined this year than I have been in previous years.
“I just realised myself that I have come out every January and been a bit sluggish and not playing as well as I probably should. It just feels like I need to do something this year. I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself, I feel I want to do it as well and I’m looking forward to it. I’m happy in my own self at the minute and it’s just more for myself than anything else, that I feel I want to do this and I feel like I will be rewarded.”
But don’t expect Lowry to become a gym rat.
“Since the Tiger Woods era everyone’s gone crazy on the whole gym thing and it’s something that I had never really bought into that much,” Lowry said. “I’ve done little bits here and there. I have got a couple of niggles in my hip this year and I feel like I need to do a little bit just to keep those niggles away. Because if I’m getting those niggles when I’m 26, what am I going to be like when I’m 36, or 46?
“It’s not about trying to get into great shape or anything like that, it’s just about feeling good about myself and prolonging my career.
“I think Tiger Woods is probably nearly one of the most injured golfers on tour and you see him at the Presidents Cup not too long ago, hobbling around the place, and he’s probably the fittest guy out there. So I don’t think it’s all got to do with that (the gym), I’ve never thought that way and I’m not going to start.”
Of course, that counterintuitive view, if taken to its logical end, would mean none of us would ever get out of bed in the morning for fear of tripping over the pizza boxes that would inevitably be lying about the place and doing oneself an injury. But we get Shane’s point. After all, as Martin O’Neill suggested cheekily in yesterday’s newspapers regarding footballers’ diets, if all the Italians are eating pasta, then how come three clubs still get relegated from Serie A every season? And more importantly, if that’s what makes Lowry happy and in a better place to go out and succeed, who are we to argue about logic?
The fella will tee it up on Thursday in 33rd place on the Race To Dubai, having earned nearly €800,000 from 20 starts this season, having finished the highest placed Irishman in Turkey.
Good luck to him.
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