Lowry shifts schedule in hopes of making Ryder team

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With the season's majors now in the rear-view mirror, the focus will soon shift to the Ryder Cup. Shane Lowry knows it, and he's changing his upcoming schedule to increase his chances of playing a role at Hazeltine.

Lowry is playing this week in the Travelers Championship, and in a blog for the Irish Times he indicated plans to enter the upcoming Wyndham Championship in a last-ditch effort to make the European squad. He's also going to skip The Barclays, the first FedEx Cup Playoff event, and instead tee it up that week in the Made in Denmark, the final European Tour event before the nine automatic qualifiers are finalized.

"I haven't made this decision lightly. But I've decided that making the Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine is my priority," Lowry wrote. "I'm giving myself a chance to qualify by right by adjusting my schedule and, if that doesn't happen, then hopefully I'm putting myself in the frame for a pick."

Lowry made waves at the U.S. Open, carrying a four-shot lead into the final round at Oakmont before tying for second. But he has struggled to back up that result, missing the cut in each of his last three starts including The Open and the PGA Championship.

Consequently, the Irishman entered this week at No. 14 in the European Points list, where the top four players will qualify, and No. 15 in the World Points list, where the next five not already qualified will earn spots.

Earlier this season, Lowry notably skipped the French Open - where double Ryder Cup points were on offer - to instead defend his title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational where he received no Ryder Cup points for his T-36 finish.

With five would-be rookies currently projected to make the team, Lowry finds himself among a pool of potential captain's picks that includes Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell, all of whom have significant Ryder Cup experience.

"The team has almost picked itself at the minute, and I'm just off the pace," he wrote. "I want to give Darren (Clarke) and his vice-captains something to think about. It means so much to me, and that's why I'm going to Denmark instead of The Barclays."

Lowry is exempt on the PGA Tour through the 2017-18 season by virtue of his win last year at Firestone, and he is currently 82nd in FedEx Cup points, meaning he's likely to stay within the top 100 and advance to the Deutsche Bank Championship even if he skips out on Bethpage.

"The FedEx Cup is big, but it's just not as big for me as the Ryder Cup," he wrote. "I'd rather play in the Ryder Cup than do well in the FedEx Cup."