Shane Lowry, the Open champion, is learning to say ‘no’ as he bids to keep his foot on the pedal next year, when one of his main goals will be trying to get on close friend Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup team.
The Irishman is one of the headline names in this week’s Turkish Airlines Open at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek and is aiming for a strong finish to the season in his bid to win the Race to Dubai.
However, Lowry revealed he has turned down an invitation to play in the Australian Open in early December and has also ruled himself out of the Hero World Challenge, the end-of-year event hosted by Tiger Woods in the Bahamas.
“We’ve had a lot of approaches, including one from the Australian Open organisers, and I’ve just had to say ‘no’,” he said. “It’s a nice luxury to have, and it’s hard to turn down such invitations and for such a prestigious event as the Australian Open, but I feel if I am going to perform well next year, it is something I have to do.
“So, while it would be nice to head down to Sydney, I do feel I need to give everything I have the next couple of weeks and then take my back like I do every year and come back in January fully-charged and firing on all cylinders.
“I also won’t be heading to the Bahamas, having in touch with the Hero World Challenge organisers to say that I did not want play. To be honest, I made a bit of an early call on the Hero and I probably shouldn’t have as I was down to play the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii at the start of next year, but then I need a few weeks off over the Christmas/New Year period.
“So, we looked at it and, if I had committed to Tiger’s event in the Bahamas, I would have only had 20-days at home and now I am not playing either of them. I will start 2020 defending my Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, so I will look forward to teeing up there first in the new year.”
Mainly thanks to his Claret Jug win at Royal Portrush in July, Lowry is less than 700 points behind current Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger but, with increased points on offer in the final three events of the season, there is still all to play for, starting at this week’s event on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
“It would be lovely if I got to the final 18 holes in Dubai with a chance to win the Race to Dubai. To be European No 1 would be really special and would add to the year I’ve had,” he added.
“I think it would be the icing on the cake. I’m going to give it my best shot but if I don’t win it, I won’t be too disappointed. I’ve had a decent year and I’d be pretty happy with what I’ve got at Christmas.”