Shane Lowry says the money thrown around at golf is “absolutely disgusting” and fears it could scare fans away from the game.
The Irishman, in conversation with the No stopping podcast, revealed he didn’t even know how much he won for holding off Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm’s challenges to win the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth last week. He believes top golfers should focus on what’s good “for golf, not what’s good for us” despite the temptation of the huge amounts of money being distributed by LIV Golf.
“If you play the game for money, maybe you should go there” [to LIV]’ Lowry continued No stopping. “If you’re playing the game for trophies you shouldn’t. I’ve always said I’m not playing the game for money, I never have. I feel like that’s why I didn’t even enjoy it to be honest to be.
“When I looked at the trophy at Wentworth and I saw the names on the trophy, it was the who’s who of European golf. It’s unbelievable that my name will be on it, I don’t care how much money I won. After I had a few drinks on Sunday night, someone asked me ‘how much money did you win today?’ and honestly I have no idea. They wouldn’t believe me, but I had no idea. I had to text from the European Tour to see how much I had won.
The 2019 Open champion recognizes that to compete with entities like the NBA and NFL, golf must remain popular with corporate America, but as the game becomes more money-oriented, there is a danger of alienating fans.
“What LIV has done is creating a division in the game that will scare people off, people will stop looking at it,” the 35-year-old said. No stopping. “I think the amounts being thrown around right now are absolutely disgusting.
“Even I feel like all people are talking about money now. When I looked at the Tour Championship the commentators were just talking about how much money they would win, I was like ‘are you just going to talk about the trophy or the title’ or how many times Tiger has won it I just think it’s ridiculous amounts.
“The General Joe Soap, who tries his best to make 50k a year, has to struggle to pay for his membership, this probably annoys him more than anyone. That’s the wrong thing to do. I’m lucky to have the life I have, it’s not my god who gave the right to be a part of something that will bury those tours. It’s just up to me to keep my place there and pass it on to someone else when it’s my time to sail into the sunset.”
Lowry has played in the Saudi International for three years on the DP World Tour, but now feels he has “misjudged the room”.
“It would be very hypocritical of me to say so” [the reason I was against LIV] was because of where the money is coming from,” he said. “Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, they are all next to each other, I would play them at the beginning of the year and come back to America.
“I say I don’t play the game for money, but I was well looked after because I went there. But because it was also a European Tour event, in a Ryder Cup year you score points and all. Maybe I misjudged the room.”