The “grow the game” trope has been frequently used by players who have taken tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to join LIV Golf. The players who have turned down the cash offered by the Saudi Arabia-backed league, like Shane Lowry, are fed up with the cliché response.
Lowry, 36, addressed his Ryder Cup teammate Jon Rahm’s departure for LIV Golf, his reasons for leaving and his future Ryder Cup status at an event on Thursday for next September’s Irish Open at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland on Thursday.
“I think what Jon said about growing the game and stuff that’s obviously what they have to say,” Lowry told the Irish Independent. “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 (to golf’s image) 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,” he added.
Rahm said he doesn’t plan on giving up his DP World Tour membership so he can stay eligible for the Ryder Cup, and Lowry was hopeful that the Spaniard would remain in good enough form to qualify for the 2025 event at Bethpage Black in New York.
“The reason (Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia or Lee Westwood) couldn’t play Ryder Cup this year was because they resigned their membership,” Lowry said. “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.”
Unlike his other European teammate, Viktor Hovland, Lowry refrained from blasting PGA Tour leadership and their mismanagement of the threat posed by LIV Golf, saying, “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.”
The 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year has a pair of wins on the PGA Tour and six on the DP World Tour dating back to his Irish Open victory as an amateur in 2009. Lowry is also a two-time member of Team Europe and boasts a 2-3-1 record in the biennial bash against the United States.