Ryder Cup 2023: Rome renewal will be equivalent of playing at Croke Park for Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry speaks in a press conference prior to the recent BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in Virginia Water. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.
Shane Lowry speaks in a press conference prior to the recent BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in Virginia Water. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

GAA runs in the Lowry blood as Shane's dad, Brendan, was part of Offaly's legendary 1982 All-Ireland winning side that ended Kerry's bid for five title triumphs in a row. Earlier this year, Lowry shared a proud moment on social media as he took his oldest daughter, Iris, to Croke Park for the first time to watch a match between Limerick and Galway. “Growing up, I always wanted to play in the All-Ireland Finals and to be playing in front of 80,000 people at Croke Park,” admitted the 2019 Open champion. “But I’ll take the Ryder Cup.”

Lowry made his Ryder Cup debut in the 2021 match at Whistling Straits and, in contrast to that, is now looking forward to experiencing home backing at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club on the outskirts of Rome. “We were there for the trip (a recent team get-together) and I was standing on the first green and looked back down the fairway. It was just like an amphitheatre of the grandstands and hospitality,” he said, smiling. “I was saying to the lads: imagine what that is going to be like when it is full of 20, 30, 40,000 people cheering for you. It’s going to be amazing.

“It’s going to be different and you are going to have to deal with it. I felt it was easy the last time to get up for it because you are trying to beat everyone that was there. Maybe you’ll need to hold back your emotions a little bit when you have everyone cheering for you to focus on the job in hand. It is going to be a different way of doing it, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Like Ryder Cup team-mate Bob MaIntyre with his shinty, being involved in GAA growing up helped Lowry develop a passion for team sport, hence why he is so excited to be playing in the competition again as helps Europe try to win the trophy back after a 19-9 defeat two years ago.

“I feel like, yes, that is why I enjoy the Ryder Cup so much because of my background, where I come from, how I grew up,” Lowry said. “I think, to be honest, the Ryder Cup means more to me than some people, but I’m going to shy away from that. I have said it all year. There are some guys who focus on all the other events and then when it comes to the Ryder Cup they are well able to get in tune for it. I’ve probably thought about it a bit too much this year, tried a bit too much. But I am here now.”

As are MacIntyre and fellow rookies Ludvig Aberg, Nicolai Hojgaard and Sepp Straka, the quartet having earned the right to be part of a new era for Europe in the transatlantic tussle. “We obviously were together in Rome and we talked a little bit. I said to the rookies that it is just different,” revealed Lowry. “I didn’t expect to be the way I was at Whistling Straits, but it just happened.

“I didn’t try to do it. I’ve watched it over the years and seeing guys doing stuff like and felt that some guys were trying a bit too hard to do it. But I certainly wasn’t trying. It was just raw emotion and it just comes out. It’s what it means and it’s what it means to me. I’m pretty sure not everyone is going to be like that, but you just need to be yourself and that is what I kept saying to the lads. Just be yourself and be the best version of yourself.”