‘I Deserve My Place On The Team’ – Shane Lowry Defends European Ryder Cup Wildcard Pick

The Irishman doesn’t feel he has anything to prove ahead of the biennial match

Shane Lowry talks to the media before the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
Shane Lowry says he deserves his place on the European Ryder Cup team
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite possessing valuable Ryder Cup experience having represented Team Europe in the 2021 match, Shane Lowry was one of the more controversial of Luke Donald’s wildcard picks for the 2023 edition at Marco Simone.

That’s because Lowry will head into the match on the back of a year that, by his standards, has been disappointing. Before last week’s Horizon Irish Open, the 36-year-old had only achieved one top-10 finish in 2023, with a T5 in the Honda Classic.

He went some way to addressing that at the K Club with a T3, but concerns remain over whether the 2019 Open champion will show the kind of form needed to help Team Europe reclaim the trophy it lost to Team USA at Whistling Straits two years ago.

Lowry, along with the rest of Donald’s team, is in the field this week BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. As he prepares to defend the title he won in 2022, he launched a passionate defence of his abilities ahead of the biennial match at the end of September.

On the questions over his selection, he said: “I know there was a little bit about that last week and me, and - need to be careful here. Didn't sit very well with me to be honest. I feel like, yes, my results have not been amazing this year, but I feel if you purely go down to statistics and go down to the 12 best players in Europe, I'm one of them. And I feel like I deserve my place on the team.”

Lowry also insisted that he didn’t have anything to prove at last week's tournament. He continued: “I didn't feel like I had to go out and prove anything to anyone last week. The Irish Open is important to me and a tournament I wanted to play well in.

“If I shut a few people up, so be it, but I wasn't trying to do that last week. I wasn't trying to finish third last week. I was trying to win last week. So last week was disappointing for me. 

"This week is the same. I'm trying to win the tournament here this week. I know I deserve to be on that team and I know I'll be good in Rome in a couple of weeks, and I'm very excited for it."

Lowry is also convinced that he will bring plenty to the team. He explained: "I think I'm a good player for a start. I think I'm not going to be afraid of anyone that comes to stand on first tee in two weeks' time. I think I'll be good for the rookies. I think I'll be good for team morale or in the team room .I think, you know, I'll be passionate. I'll show my emotions. I'll enjoy myself."

'It Was A Very, Very Worthwhile Exercise'

Shane Lowry at the Horizon Irish Open

Shane Lowry says the European Ryder Cup team's visit to Marco Simone was "worthwhile"

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lowry arrived at Wentworth the day after the Europeans had embarked on a whistlestop visit to Marco Simone for a scouting trip, and he explained it had been a worthwhile experience. He said: “It was amazing. Obviously it was a get together for the 12 lads, and vice captains and I think it was a very, very worthwhile exercise, and well, you'll all be the judge of that in about three weeks' time.

"But I think, you know, especially for the younger lads yesterday, it was very, very cool. We had a dinner last night and had a team meeting. It was one of those days that we got a lot done yesterday that we don't need to do in two weeks. Any hour you can save the week of the Ryder Cup is needed, so yeah, a very worthwhile exercise yesterday."

He also said he thinks the way the course is being setup will suit the Europeans. He explained: “The rough is pretty thick but yeah, you need to hit fairways and you need to hit greens, and you need to stay in the hole and that's the way we like it.”

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.