Shane Lowry says wife was target of 'dog's abuse' from US fans at Ryder Cup
The Irishman has joined two of his European team-mates, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, as well as captain Padraig Harrington in heading straight from Whistling Straits to Scotland for this week’s 20th Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Speaking at St Andrews, Lowry, who is still hurting for close friend Harrington after the visitors suffered a record 19-9 defeat at the hands of a rampant US side, revealed it wasn’t just the European players who had endured a torrid time from the American fans in Wisconsin.
According to the 2019 Open champion, his wife Wendy and the wives, partners and families of his team-mates were also the target of beer-fuelled spectators supporting Steve Striker’s side.
“Look, I didn't think it was that bad until I asked my wife what it was like for her, and they got dog’s abuse coming around as well,” said Lowry. “It's not very nice is it, and it's not very nice for them to have to listen to this. But that's a small percentage of the crowd.
“I finished my match on 16 on Sunday and I was walking back down to follow the other groups and I got a huge ovation off the crowd in the grandstand on 16, that was pretty cool. And I thought I get on well with the crowd last week as best I could.
“But they are obviously a home crowd and they are going to be a partisan crowd. But some of the stuff is not very nice. But look, that's just the way it is. Some people are idiots, especially when they drink.
“Nobody turns into a genius drinking, and that's what they were doing last week. Especially if you were out in the afternoon matches, it was loud.
“It was hard for us. As a team it was hard for us to perform our best because, you know, no matter what you say, you stand up and you hit a 3-iron into ten feet from 250 yards and you don't even get a ripple of applause. You almost get booed for it. It's hard.”
In the 2016 match at Hazeltine, Rory McIlroy confronted one fan after feeling he’s crossed a line with some comments, with US team members Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay even having words with spectators about what was being aimed at the Europeans from outside the ropes on the opening two days last week.
“I knew it was going to happen,” added Lowry of his wife being among those to receive abuse. “I said it to my wife at the start of the week. And I warned my dad not to get involved with anyone. It’s just the way it is.
“Bethpage in 2025 is going to be horrendous. But it will be a great chance to shut them up. That’s the way I see it. When I’m out there that’s what I’m doing. There is nothing better than holing a 20-footer and turning around to see them all standing there dead silent. It’s amazing.”
Lowry, who is teaming up with his regular partner, Gerry McManus, in this week’s $5.5 million pro-am, said he detected Harrington feeling “down” in the wake of such a heavy defeat. That has led some people to predict a lengthy spell of US domination in the event, but Lowry shook his head when that was mentioned.
“I stupidly picked up the paper on the flight up here yesterday, started to read some articles – and I just had to put it down, to be honest, because I was getting so annoyed,” he said. “People thinking they know what went on, they know what’s gone wrong, trying to pick holes in the European Ryder Cup system.
“Since 1985, Europe are 12-6 up, so there’s nothing wrong with the system. Yes, we got a big beating. And yes, the Americans are going to be strong for years to come. But the Americans will always be strong. And the Europeans always come back. We will give it a good go in Rome.
‘If we win, we win. If we don’t, it’s not because the players or captains haven’t done their best.
‘I just don’t like it. What I’m trying to say is I’m just so disappointed for Paddy and the way his captaincy is being picked apart now. People think they know what they’re taking about. But they really don’t.”
Harrington had been part of European teams that won 18.5-9.5 at both Oakland Hills in 2004 then The K Club two years later. He enjoyed those record achievements, but is now feeling sore about being on the receiving end of a bigger defeat.
“It’s obviously disappointing for him,” said Lowry, who is in the same group as his compatriot at Carnoustie in their opening round on Thursday. “And little things – well, it’s not a little thing, it’s a big thing – like the extra half point.
“I knew about that on Saturday night, when I finished my match and the board was fully red.
‘I was thinking: ‘Oh my God’. Because I knew about the 18-and-a-half points from The K Club, I remember that. So I was just devastated for him. He’ll be fine, like, he’ll be grand. But he doesn’t deserve this.”
Would he like to see Harrington get another chance in two years’ time in Italy? “I don’t think he’ll want another chance himself, to be honest,” he said. “It’s a tough job, especially for somebody who is trying to compete and play. There’s so much to it.”
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