STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT Why Shane Lowry must use Open win as a springboard

STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT Why Shane Lowry must use Open win as a springboard

THIS week marks exactly a year since Shane Lowry lit up Royal Portrush with a winning performance at The Open that will be etched forever in Irish golf’s record books. 

However, 12 months on, it’s perhaps a little disappointing that the Offaly man hasn’t kicked on and achieved more success, especially as he tries to qualify for the Ryder Cup for the first time in his career.

With Europe being led by compatriot and friend, Padraig Harrington, Lowry has spoken of his desire to make the team for some time and, having won The Open and the Abu Dhabi Championship in January last year, he would have been in a good position for a wildcard and captain Harrington would have certainly been vindicated in handing him one.

However, with the Ryder Cup now postponed to next year, as confirmed on Wednesday, July 8, will Lowry’s success of 2019 count as highly when the selection process comes around in 2021?

Shane Lowry celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning the Open Championship on Day Four of the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

You tend to think not. Harrington himself got a controversial wildcard pick in 2010 from captain, Colin Montgomerie, despite not winning in the previous two years.

But Montgomerie justified it by pointing out that Harrington was a seasoned Ryder Cup player – having played in five of them by that stage – and that his experience as a three-time major champion was needed in a team with few major winners.

Of course, the quickest way around this for Lowry is to get back to winning ways and find consistency again so that he qualifies automatically through the points system.

Although, currently, it seems like he is still struggling from the hangover of that Open win last year. Indeed, since the resumption of play, the 33-year-old has failed to make any real impact on the leaderboards as he battles with his putting form.

“The last few weeks I’ve struggled on the greens,” he told the Golf Channel.

“Tee-to-green, I’ve been fine. If I can just get better on the greens, I feel I’ll be there or thereabouts. It’s all about waiting for it to happen and just not trying to force it too much.

“I sometimes can force it too much and try too hard, so it’s just about trusting the process and waiting for it all to happen.”

For sure, golf is a game with an acceptance of ups and downs.

But success often comes in short spells. When the iron is hot, you need to strike.

When Harrington won three majors in 13 months between 2007 and 2008, it was followed by a long barren spell of six years in America and Europe which shows you never know what’s around the corner.

Producing your best form can rarely been turned on and off like a switch.

That’s why Lowry needs to get on the bike again quickly.

When he won a World Golf Championship in America in 2015, he went three years without victory.

He must not allow it to happen again, particularly if he wants to be on that Ryder Cup plane with Harrington next year.