Shane Lowry: High hopes for DP World Tour, but concerned for prize money

Former Open champion Shane Lowry expressed sincere hope that the current "astronomical" prize funds in professional golf are sustainable and the tours can be passed on in good shape to future players.

Matt Chivers's picture
Tue, 17 Jan 2023
Shane Lowry: High hopes for DP World Tour, but concerned for prize money

2019 Open champion and DP World Tour star Shane Lowry believes golf has been 'sidetracked' with massive prize funds and hopes the game can be passed on to future generations in better shape.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as a past champion, Lowry had promising words for the DP World Tour and the strategic alliance with the PGA Tour.

The Irishman believes the progressive, planned increase in prize money on the former European Tour in the coming years will add to its growth, despite some seeing it as an inferior entity to its American ally.

On the PGA Tour in 2023, there will be 13 Elevated Events with average prize purses of $20 million. The Tour made these changes at the end of last season to combat the rise of LIV Golf and nail down their best players and assets.

Lowry, 35, told the press he will play at the WM Phoenix Open, one of the new Elevated Events in the states, but insisted that events with smaller prize funds shouldn't be discounted or reduced in worth or significance.

"We've got sidetracked in thinking that 20 million or 100 million is just normal and that's what we should be playing for and that's what we're worth; and that if we are playing for 2 or 3 million on this tour, that is not enough," Lowry said.

"I still think that this tour has grown, I think with their alliance on the PGA Tour, with the prize money, guaranteed to grow in prize money over the next 13 years every year, I think that's good for the Tour.

"I think it's sustainable, which is the big thing. I think having a sustainable product is something that you need to have, and I do think this tour has that.

"Like I said, we got sidetracked to thinking that $100 million is just normal. Everybody is throwing out these figures that are just astronomical. I think, you know, as a tour, could this tour be better? Yeah, obviously, we could all be better in anything that we do.

"But I do think that with steady growth over the next number of years, I do think this tour will keep improving."

These positive comments are in contrast to the thoughts of Matt Fitzpatrick's caddie Billy Foster who has caddied for the likes of Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Seve Ballesteros over a number of decades.

Foster said in a recent interview, "We've sold our soul to an organisation (the PGA Tour) that has done nothing but stamp its foot on us for the last 40 years - The European Tour is dead. It's on its arse. It has lost its heart and soul, which breaks my heart."

In June 2022, the DP World Tour and PGA Tour extended their alliance to 2035. As part of this agreement, the PGA Tour increased its existing stake in European Tour Productions from 15 per cent to 40 per cent.

From 2023, the top 10 players in the DP World Tour rankings will obtain a card on the American circuit, building a pathway for players to the top of the game.

As a major champion, former Bridgestone Invitational winner and now a member of the Player Advisory Council, Lowry has certainly cracked America and is determined for golf to be in an improved position by the time future generations are at his current stage.

"I just hope it's sustainable and I just hope that in 30 years' time, those guys that are playing on the tour are playing a better tour than I played," he added.

"You know, Tiger, let's say Jack and Arnold, they pass it down to, whatever you call, Freddie Couples and those guys and they passed it down to Tiger. Tiger is passing it down to us and it's up to us to pass it down to the next generation in a better place than we got it.

"So I think that's what's important for golf over the next while, and that's why I am happy to be involved in the PAC on the PGA Tour and I am quite passionate about where golf is going and what's right for the game over the next while."