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Shane Lowry says criticism of his Ryder Cup pick “didn’t sit very well” as he prepares to make a second appearance in the biennial clash.

Lowry, who finished eighth on the World Points List and 11th on the European Points List in the new qualification process, was handed a captain’s pick from Luke Donald despite just one top-ten finish on the PGA and DP World Tours this year.

It was a decision that divided the golf world – with many saying it was more controversial than Zach Johnson picking the hopelessly out-of-form Justin Thomas for the Americans – but Lowry, who returned one point from three as a rookie in 2021, believes the numbers don’t lie.

“My results have not been amazing this year,” he said ahead of his title defence at the BMW PGA Championship. “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.”

After a brief pause for reflection, he added: “I need to be careful here. It didn’t sit very well with me, to be honest.

“I’m a good player for a start. I’m not going to be afraid of anyone that comes to stand on the first tee in two weeks’ time. I think I’ll be good for the rookies, I think I’ll be good for team morale and in the team room.

“I’ll be passionate, I’ll show my emotions, I’ll enjoy myself. You never know when it’s going to be your last, so you want to make the most of it. That’s kind of how I look at it.

“My favourite week of the year is the week before the Masters because I’m preparing for something huge. It’s quite stressful and I get quite anxious about it but I am feeling like that’s what next week is going to be like and I’m looking forward to preparing and getting ready for going out there and hopefully winning.”

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Lowry responded to the negativity surrounding his wildcard pick with a tie for third at the K Club, but insisted he did not have anything to prove.

“The Irish Open is important to me and a tournament I wanted to play well in,” he said. “If I showed a few people up, so be it, but I wasn’t trying to do that. I wasn’t trying to finish third, I was trying to win, so last week was disappointing for me.

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

Before heading to Wentworth for the DP World Tour’s flagship event, the European team spent Monday at Marco Simone for a brief team-bonding trip.

“It was amazing,” Lowry said. “Especially for the younger lads, it was very, very cool just to get everyone involved and everyone feel like the Ryder Cup is almost starting, because when you get there the week goes by quickly.

“We had a dinner last night and a team meeting. 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 a very worthwhile exercise.

“Well, you’ll be the judge of that in about three weeks’ time.”

author headshot

Alex Perry is the Associate Editor of bunkered. A journalist for more than 20 years, he has been a golf industry stalwart for the majority of his career and, in a five-year spell at ESPN, covered every sporting event you can think of. He completed his own Grand Slam at the 2023 Masters, having fallen in love with the sport at his hometown club of Okehampton and on the links of nearby Bude & North Cornwall.

Associate Editor

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