Ryder Cup: Europe’s Shane Lowry says he ‘deserves’ place on team to face US in Rome

Shane Lowry acknowledges the fans at the K Club after finishing joint third at the Irish Open
Lowry, who won the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, returned his best finish of the year at the Irish Open

Shane Lowry insists he did not “have to prove a point” at last week’s Irish Open after being selected as a wildcard pick in Europe’s 12-man Ryder Cup team.

The Irishman finished joint third – his first top-10 since February – a week after being named as one of six picks.

There had been some criticism of his selection, given Poland’s Adrian Meronk won three events, including May’s Italian Open at the Ryder Cup course.

“I know I deserve to be there,” Lowry, the 2019 Open champion, told BBC Sport.

“The people who knew what they were talking about know I deserve my place, so anyone else doesn’t really matter.”

Lowry made his debut in the biennial event against the United States in 2021’s record 19-9 defeat at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, after also receiving a wildcard pick.

The 36-year-old finished 11th on the European points list and eighth on the world points list this time around, with the top three on each qualifying automatically.

The Irishman joins automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre, as well as fellow wildcard picks Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg for the match against the United States at the Marco Simone course in Rome from 29 September to 1 October.

All 12 players and their caddies went to the Ryder Cup course earlier this week for what Lowry called an “important” team bonding session.

“It was brilliant,” said Lowry, who played 18 holes with Scotland’s MacIntyre, Austria’s Straka and England’s Rose.

“I had a great time. I don’t really know Ludvig, Nicolai or Sepp – I know them to say hello to – so even hanging out for half an hour can make a big difference because the week of the Ryder Cup is a bit manic.”

It was also a first visit for Lowry to the course that hosts the Italian Open and his first impression was of a “hilly” course with “rough that is brutally thick”.

Before the Ryder Cup, he heads into this week’s BMW PGA Championship as defending champion and in the middle of what he says is “one of the most exciting months” of his career.

He held off McIlroy and Rahm to win the DP World Tour’s flagship event last year.

“It’s an amazing month of golf and I’m trying to take it all in and enjoy it as much as I can,” he added.

“Last week, playing in front of thousands of people in 25C heat in Ireland was incredible. The forecast is pretty good for this week at Wentworth and the crowds are always amazing here, and then the build-up for the Ryder Cup afterwards, I’m trying to soak it all in.

“I always say when you’re playing tournaments like this, if you can finish ahead of those two lads (McIlroy and Rahm) you’ll do alright. Hopefully I can do the same this weekend.”

Europe’s 12 Ryder Cup players have been grouped together for the opening two rounds at Wentworth, with the tournament getting under way on Thursday.

Lowry will play with Straka and Fleetwood, while McIlroy is out with newly crowned FedEx Cup champion Hovland and rising rookie Aberg.

Hatton, who won this tournament in 2020, plays alongside Rahm and Hojgaard, with MacIntyre teeing off with Englishmen Rose and Fitzpatrick.

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