Lowry admits scheduling switch 'backfired'

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Shane Lowry admitted a late tweak to his schedule "backfired" after the Irishman failed to make the Ryder Cup team and saw his PGA Tour season end earlier than expected.

Lowry was firmly in the mix for a spot on Darren Clarke's team after carrying a four-shot lead into the final round of the U.S. Open. He tied for second at Oakmont, but his results dried up shortly thereafter - a fact that Lowry attributes to the mounting pressure he placed on himself to earn a spot at Hazeltine.

"Since Oakmont, the Ryder Cup has been on my mind a lot. It's been like a cloud hanging over me, and I just never got momentum," Lowry wrote in the Irish Times. "I lost confidence quickly after the U.S. Open, which shouldn't have happened. I should have gained confidence. But a couple bad weeks - those missed cuts in Scotland - does that to you."

Equipped with hindsight, Lowry also questioned his decision to play as much as he did in the U.S., where he used his first full season as a PGA Tour member to add stops like Phoenix, Pebble Beach and Houston to his schedule.

"I played a lot in America, a lot of new courses and new tournaments, and people underestimate how difficult that is," he wrote. "You're playing against guys who've played these courses for 10 years. It's simple things, like standing over a wedge shot to a blind green and knowing if the ball releases on the green."

When it was clear after the PGA Championship that Lowry would fall short of automatic qualification, he decided to change his schedule in the hopes of catching Clarke's attention. He added the Wyndham Championship and opted to play last week in Denmark rather than at The Barclays.

But Lowry's T-42 finish in Greensboro didn't create much traction, and he finished T-24 in Denmark while Thomas Pieters earned the last Ryder Cup spot with the type of late surge that Lowry had envisioned for himself. To make matters worse, he slipped from No. 87 to No. 102 in the FedEx Cup race by skipping Bethpage, and only the top 100 players qualified for this week's Deutsche Bank Championship.

As a result, Lowry's PGA Tour postseason ended without him hitting a single shot. After a busy summer stretch, he now plans to take the next five weeks off before beginning his run to what he hopes will be a spot on the 2018 European Ryder Cup team.

"Do I regret going to Denmark? If I didn't go, I'd always be thinking, 'What if?'" he wrote. "I regret going now, though, because I am not in Boston and I have missed out on the chance to play the FedEx Cup. But I went to Denmark to try to make the Ryder Cup team, and I gave it my all. The plan backfired on me."