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‘They own you now’: Shane Lowry not surprised by Jon Rahm’s LIV jump, still wants him at Bethpage Ryder Cup

December 21, 2023
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Andrew Redington

Add Shane Lowry to the chorus of golfers who are a bit dubious of LIV Golf and its place in the golf ecosystem. The Irishman isn’t surprised, nor does he blame, some of the best players in the world for taking the Saudi-backed league’s money, but don’t look for Lowry to be making a Jon Rahm-esque jump anytime soon.

“I think what Jon said about growing the game and stuff, that’s obviously what they have to say,” Lowry said, according to the Irish Independent, at a press conference this week promoting next year’s Amgen Irish Open on the DP World Tour. “They’ve signed on the dotted line. They’ve been told by the communications team that this is what you say when you’re asked this and you have no other choice really because they own you now.

“I don’t know if it’s been damaging, but people who have spent their hard-earned money going out to join a golf club and buy golf clubs and play golf for the weekend, it’s tough for them to listen to the guy who’s already worth whatever say he has to do this to put food on the table for his wife and kids.”

Lowry is one of many who hopes that the standoff between the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour will come to a halt sometime soon as the disruption caused by LIV has put golf in a “funny place.” He didn’t go so far as to attack executives at the PGA Tour, à la Viktor Hovland, but the 2019 Open champ is undoubtedly exhausted by the never-ending news cycle.

“Do I think they’ve been amazing? No, probably not,” Lowry said. “But I’m not going to criticize them because I think they couldn’t foresee this coming. It was something that just happened. I don’t really know.

“A lot of players have a lot of opinions on the leadership of the tour. But I don’t consider myself clever enough to be able to comment on running a billion-dollar organization.”

Lowry echoed those comments while speaking with Irish sports website Balls.ie, where it was obvious his disappointment that he won't get to tee off against Rahm until the Masters. His fellow pros hopping around has forced him to become a bit more "selfish" as well.

"Because it's been going on for so long now, at the start it was dispiriting, but now, I've talked about this a lot with my team, you just have to worry about yourself," Lowry told the website. "You just have to become that selfish golfer who picks their schedule and wants to play and win the best tournaments in the world. The best tournaments in my mind are Riviera, Bay Hill, the Players, and then leading up to the Masters. They are the tournaments I want to win."

With all that said, Lowry is fanatical when it comes to the Ryder Cup, and he doesn’t see a reason for Team Europe to lose Rahm just because of his recent about-face. When it comes down to it, Lowry wants to win (and celebrate) the biennial event, and having Rahm on the team is certainly better than not having him.

Rory McIlroy recently called for a rules change to insure the Spaniard could make Team Europe’s Bethpage squad in 2025, but Lowry seemed confident that it won’t need to come down to that.

“The reason they [Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood] couldn’t play Ryder Cup this year was because they resigned their [DP World Tour] membership,” Lowry said Irish Open press conference. “There were certain players that would have been able to make the team if they played good enough, but they just didn’t. I am sure Rahmbo can play well enough to make the team, so if he doesn’t resign his membership, he can still make the team.”