Right, we've had our first taste of the new major season schedule. So what did our Fourball team think of it and what will they do in the long wait to the Masters?
With Shane Lowry deciding to withdraw from the WGC-FedEx St Jude Classic and Wyndham Championship, the Fourball team discuss golf’s newest major champion and how we feel about the new golf major schedule…
How does the rest of Shane Lowry’s career play out?
Dan: The Open will be the highlight of his career. I don’t see how he will surpass it. You have to presume he will make a belated debut next year at Whistling Straits. It is largely forgotten that Lowry was very much on course to play in the 2016 match at Valhalla, then Oakmont happened and he simply disappeared from the scene for the rest of the season. I have long thought he would be well suited to Ryder Cup matchplay.
Mark: Doing what he did at Oakmont for the first 67 holes told us plenty about him. You don’t keep going in that type of US Open without being a stellar player, and he’s got one now so the last five holes can now be put to bed. You’d have to fancy him in another Open, particularly given he’s got another 28 of them to come.
Steve: He’s always looked a fairly streaky player – almost unstoppable when hot – and he’ll have his ups and downs. That should put him in major contention again and, given the way he handled Sunday at Portrush, the conditions and the crowd, it will be a surprise to me if he doesn’t add to his major total. But is he going to win half a dozen? No.
Alex: I can see Lowry doing a bit of a Vijay Singh and winning a couple more in his late 30s, early 40s. The pressure is off him now, he’ll go out and enjoy the majors more and I think that will ease him over the line in a couple. One more Open and a PGA, if you’re asking.
- Why McIlroy is failing the major test
- When will Tiger Woods tee up next?
- PGA Tour announces 2019-20 schedule
Who would you like to see alongside Lowry as a partner at Whistling Straits?
Mark: Maybe this is it. Maybe we’ll finally find a partner for Rory McIlroy. Whoever he gets he’ll be some partner given how amazingly he chips and his manner, although being so competitive, is pretty much ideal. I’m struggling to think of anyone better to play with.
Steve: Rory would be an exceptionally attractive option, especially in foursomes. Imagine McIlroy crashing it 350 yards and Lowry stiffing those lovely irons and wedges. It might make Moliwood look very old hat. What a great option for Padraig Harrington.
Alex: There will be calls for him to be paired with McIlroy and I don’t really see it going any other way. Now, shall we call them McIlowry or Lowroy?
Dan: We all love an Irish pairing don’t we? Thing is, Lowry will be a rookie only in name, as an experienced major champion, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get him involved. Plus he’s clearly an easy-going and popular character. I don’t think he will play with Rory, though. He seems to like taking a younger member of the team under his wing and that is not Lowry, certainly not after what happened at Portrush.
So, did we like the new golf major schedule?
Alex: Tiger Woods winning the Masters somehow feels like yesterday but also feels like years ago. I’m still not over it. Now what do we look forward to? The football season kicking off, I guess.
It all feels a bit close together, and I didn’t really enjoy it. I felt like you’d barely finished speaking about one major and another one was here. When I’m king of the world I’ll move the PGA to an earlier slot, then have the Masters in April, US Open in June, and push the Open back to September.
Also the golf season will be January to December and do away with this wrap-around nonsense.
Steve: It’s pretty full on, isn’t it?. Having been to the PGA, US Open and Open this year, I was bewildered by the speed. It was rushing by a bit too quick. You get home from one and you’re off to the next straight away (hold the violins).
As a TV spectator, I would imagine the period from March to August has been brilliant, with a massive event every month. I wonder now, though, how you keep the excitement going in a non-Ryder Cup year until next spring. April has never looked further away.
Dan: I don’t think the players have got their heads around it yet. I think you will see them learning from this year’s experience and really changing the way they try to calibrate their schedules from next year onwards. Certainly, if you lose form at the wrong time then it’s hard to get it back away from the major glare.
That said, with very few exceptions, these boys choose to turn out week after week after week throughout the year in all corners of the globe so it’s hard to be overly sympathetic. Personally, I’d look to play much less in the last quarter of the year and then look to do my preparation for the majors in the early part of the next one. Hang on, that’s what used to happen. If the players conclude likewise, it would be more bad news for the European Tour, whose schedule is now heavily concentrated towards the end of the year.
With no Ryder Cup or Olympics this year, it really is a void until next April. Or at least there is in professional terms. My advice for true golf fans would be to take the opportunity to absorb yourselves in the Walker Cup, which takes place at Royal Liverpool in early September.
Mark: To start off I got a bit carried away by the PGA moving to May but am now a bit lost at sea like everyone else. It seems ridiculous to shoehorn everything in to suit some Play-offs that nobody cares about. I’m not sure many of the players are big fans of it, if you’re injured or you lose a bit of form then you’ve pretty much had it.
More from Fourball