Shane Lowry would be the first to admit that he’s been guilty of turning a drama into a crisis and making a simple game seem endlessly complicated.
It all came to a head after he failed to turn a four-shot US Open lead into a final round victory lap at Oakmont just over a year ago.
That, he says, is now history.
As he prepares to “rock up” at Portstewart today for the $7 million Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, the 30-year old arrives with his mind embracing the big picture and his eye very much on the €1 million top prize.
“I feel great on the greens and my iron play feels unbelievably good at the minute,” said Lowry, who washed away any lingering disappointment from his missed cut in the HNA Open de France last Friday by spending the weekend with his wife and baby daughter.
“Last week, I just struggled off the tee but you can’t really let a week or a couple of days define your year and I’m still fairly happy where my game is.
“I feel I can go up there, do my own thing, come in under the radar a little bit, try and sneak in there and do alright.” It’s not that there’s any huge urgency but Lowry knows that the quicker he starts climbing those world rankings again the better having fallen to 73rd from a high of 17th nearly two years ago.
He’s certainly lost none of his cachet for the commercial world and will sport a new logo on his bag this week after penning a lucrative, four-year deal with Immedis, a specialist division of the Taxback Group that “provides global payroll and mobility tax solutions to multinational organisations around the world”.
Lowry has been working on his own solutions to the challenge posed by the inner game of golf.
With mental coach Gerry Hussey whispering sweet nothing to him over coffee (Lowry is not one for a lie down on the couch), he’s discovering how to let go of the bad weeks and simply be happy.
“It’s not very ... sports psychology. It’s more about trying to be happy in myself,” said the man who opted not to go to Tullamore on Saturday for the foregone conclusion of Waterford v Offaly, but to spend the day with his baby daughter, Iris.
“I got home last Friday evening and spent all Saturday and Sunday with her, so missed cuts are a little bit different these days, though obviously, you don’t want to be missing them.
“I feel like my game is good, and I feel like I’m happy. Even with a bad week last week, I didn’t get too upset about it.
“Normally I’d be going around feeling like it’s the end of the world but it was just one of those where I accepted it and I move on and try and do well this week.”
With his putting coming around, Lowry has every reason to be cheerful.
And with the spotlight this week firmly focused on Rory McIlroy and other homegrown stars like Graeme McDowell or Darren Clarke, Lowry is hoping he can creep up quietly on the rails.
Even the social media trolls get short shrift these days.
“I get plenty of advice on social media and I must admit I have contemplated shutting down my account over the last few months,” Lowry said with a smile.
“But the thing is, I do like it, even if there are a lot of ‘geniuses’ out there who tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
“Even in the last week, I have had private messages on Twitter telling me what I should do — telling me I should work harder!
“I mean who has a camera on me? I have been in the golf club until dark the last two nights. Who, apart from my family, friends, coach has the right to tell me what to do?
“People do that. That is the era we live in. I laugh it off. It definitely does not bother me.”
Lowry knows that the next month will define his season as he heads from Portstewart to The Open at Royal Birkdale and from there to the RBC Canadian Open.
He fell outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup list on Sunday but he knows there’s time to turn things around.
“The last few months have been good, I had a good chance to win at Wentworth, I was doing quite well in Memorial for a while and had a decent US Open,” he said.
“I just have to be patient for it to happen.”
As for this week, he said: “There’s a lot at stake. But even if there were no world ranking points and the tournament was only for a $1 million, it would still be a big week for me.
“The Irish Open is the Irish Open, and it’s the one you want to win. I’ve been lucky enough to win it as an amateur, but I’d love to win it again as a pro.”
Keeping it simple is key and Lowry is clear now about what makes him tick and what he has to do to win again.
“I think at the end of the day, Jack Nicklaus once said, some people make this simple game very hard for themselves,” he said.
“So I think the way to look at it is that it’s a hard game and we should be trying to make it as simple as we can.”
The 24-year old Challenge Tour regular joins former Irish amateur team mates Gavin Moynihan and Dermot McElroy on the list of invited professionals alongside five time European Tour winner Michael Hoey and former BMW PGA champion Simon Khan.
Hurley’s presence means there will be 17 Irish professionals in the field.
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