Shane Lowry may be playing his way onto the European Ryder Cup team at this week’s BMW PGA Championship
Shane Lowry is a two-time PGA Tour winner. He’s won thrice on the European Tour. He was the Champion Golfer of the Year in 2019, winning the British Open in his home country. And this past July, Lowry represented Ireland at the 2020 Olympic Games. But now, he may be playing his way onto the European Ryder Cup team for the very first time.
He’s found this position after one of his best years on the PGA Tour. He finished inside the top 10 at some of the year’s biggest events including the Players, Memorial, and PGA Championship. But at this week’s BMW PGA Championship, he still needs some things to go his way to automatically qualify.
The European team is decided by multiple points lists, the first being the European Tour points list, and then the World points lists. Four players automatically qualify according to the European Tour list, and five more from the World list. As it stands right now, Lowry is sitting in the ninth and final automatic qualifying spot.
If Bernd Wiesberger finishes inside the top 50 at the BMW PGA, he will move into the fourth spot on the European Tour points list, kicking Rory McIlroy out. McIlroy will then fall into the World points list, removing Lowry from his automatic qualifying spot. To stay put, Lowry will need a top-eight finish or better.
After the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, Lowry and Bernd Wiesberger both sit at 11 under, tied for seventh and four shots behind leader Francesco Laporta.
The Irishman followed a similar pattern to the previous two days at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey, England, as he posted birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 8 and 18 while dropping his only shot on No. 15.
But Lowry wasn’t exactly focused on the Ryder Cup after his round:
Shane Lowry interview after making birdie on 18 to move back into automatic Ryder Cup places (for now):
“I’m going home now to watch the All-Ireland football final first. I’m rushing out of here, it’s on at five o’clock.
“Can I just say one thing? Mayo for Sam."
— Niall Kelly (@niallkelly) September 11, 2021
Regardless of what happens with automatic qualification, Lowry is a solid bet to represent the European side. He’s been one of the most consistent players all season long, making the cut 19 times in 21 events on Tour. This will leave captain Harrington with a tough decision having to leave off Ryder Cup veterans. Some of the names that may miss the team — Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter.
Tune in Sunday morning on Golf Channel for the final round of the BMW PGA Championship and watch the drama unfold.