If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While some golfers will go through more coaches than a conductor on the West Coast mainline service, Shane Lowry’s productive and profitable relationship with Scottish swing guru Neil Manchip endures.
In this game of fine margins, players are forever seeking that little bit here, a tiny something there and a wee touch extra everywhere to inch their game into a higher echelon. In this quest for golfing fulfillment, coaches can be hired and fired with reckless abandon but there are no quick fixes in this pursuit of great patience.
Lowry and Manchip have been together now for almost two decades and this longevity was rewarded again at the weekend when the Irishman won the BMW PGA Championship in a stirring finale at Wentworth.
It was the 35-year-old’s first win since he landed the Claret Jug in the 2019 Open Championship at Portrush. Like the Guinness he poured down his thrapple to quench a triumphant dry mouth, good things come to those who wait.
With a second place at the Honda Classic, and third-place finishes at the Masters and RBC Heritage, Lowry has been knocking on the door this season. Over the West Course on Sunday, Lowry finally bridged his three-year title gap with a captivating conquest over fellow major champions Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.
Now a six-time winner on the DP World Tour, Lowry has never hidden his admiration for Manchip’s expertise, calming authority and pearls of wisdom. It is a long-standing alliance that continues to bear fruit.
“I have known Neil for over 18 years, it’s been a long relationship,” said the world No. 19 of Scotland’s Manchip, who worked with Lowry when he was an amateur and has helped mold him into a multiple tour winner, Ryder Cup player and major champion.
“We’re very close and it’s much more than a golf or a business relationship. We are very friendly. He probably knows more about me than anybody else. Any time I’m struggling, he knows what to do to get me back.
“I feel like out on tour, it’s easy to get distracted by coaches and with what everyone else is doing. I feel like if you’re good enough to get on tour then you own yourself and you commit to that. You’ll get further with that than if you’re chopping and changing from coach to coach trying to get better.
“I always say, you very rarely see players under-coached. You see a lot of players being over-coached. We keep it simple and have our own way to do it.”
Manchip, the national coach with Golf Ireland, watched events unfold from the sidelines on Sunday as an engrossing battle for supremacy raged at Wentworth in a championship reduced to 54-holes.
“He played some fantastic golf and to be bogey-free for the week is pretty amazing,” added Manchip of Lowry’s mighty consistency. “It was very nerve-wracking coming down the last few holes but superb at the same time.
“Shane’s had a couple of tricky ones this year being close to the lead and not winning events. He missed the FedEx final by a shot too. But good things have been coming because his golf has been phenomenal all year.”
Wentworth has always been something of a happy hunting ground for Lowry. In 12 previous outings in the BMW PGA, he had posted nine top-20 finishes with four of them – including a second to McIlroy in 2014 – being top-six. At the 13th attempt, Lowry finally came out on top on the West Course.
“He absolutely loves this place,” added Manchip. “A lot of players talk about it being a difficult course and struggle to find a way around it. But Shane sees it nicely and it just fits his eye.”
Lowry certainly had his eye on the prize on Sunday and his determined approach was rewarded with the ultimate triumph.
“I said to Neil before the final round, ‘I’m playing the best golf of my life and I just need to allow myself to play golf’,” said Lowry. “It was a case of grabbing the bull by the horns and going out and winning the tournament.”