Golf is embarking on a year that is “pivotal” to its future during a period that has been “mad” for the game, says Shane Lowry.

The former Open champion has just joined the PGA Tour’s player committee. He does so at a time when the American-based circuit, along with Europe’s DP World Tour, is embroiled in a bitter civil war with the breakaway LIV Golf enterprise.

As he prepares to compete in his first tournament of 2023, at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Lowry acknowledges it is a key time for golf.

“It’s a big year for the sport,” the 35-year-old winner of the 2019 Open told BBC Sport. “This time last year did we think the sport would be in the position it is now? No, I don’t think anyone did.”

The Irishman insists he has not been unsettled but recognises these are tumultuous times. “It’s going to be an interesting few months,” he said.

“It’s mad to be a part of. Although it is very exciting, it is pivotal for golf.

“You know, I want golf to be successful. In 30 years I want to be sitting back on my couch watching people playing the tournaments that I love playing in, tournaments that I love trying to win and making a great living from that.

“Hopefully that is the case and that’s what we are trying to build.”

Next month a legal hearing will decide whether the DP World Tour can ban players who have defected to the Saudi Arabian-funded LIV setup.

The outcome might mean the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson are playing their last events on the European tour here in the Middle East.

All three boast long and illustrious careers individually and in the Ryder Cup and are taking part in Abu Dhabi and playing next week’s Dubai Desert Classic.

“There’s a couple of key dates in the next few months with what’s going to happen in golf,” Lowry said. “Obviously court dates is what I’m talking about.”

He also acknowledged that the sport is in the spotlight like never before. Next month also marks the start of a string of American tournaments worth at least $20m (£16.4m) and the launch of a behind the scenes Netflix series – The Full Swing – which promises to reveal much of the tumult of 2022.

“The Netflix thing is going to be huge,” Lowry said. “At the start I didn’t want to get involved, didn’t fancy it. I might regret that when I see how good it’s probably going to be.

“There is a lot of exciting things going on in the sport. Does golf need a bit of a shake up? I don’t know, but it is certainly getting one.

“As long as I’ve known golf it has been the same way; 72-hole tournaments all over the world, 40 odd tournaments a year on both tours which, probably, I disagree with.

“We probably have too many tournaments. It creates a feeling that people are not excited enough about golf at certain stages of the year.”

“Obviously we all get very excited in April around the Masters, we all get very excited in July around the Open, US Open [in June], the US PGA Championship [in May], and the Ryder Cup in September.

“But we need to create something that gets people excited more often with the game. I think the PGA Tour is really trying to do that, the European tour is trying to do that.”

Lowry’s top priority is to be part of the European Ryder Cup team that assembles in Rome to take on the United States in September. He will again play a global schedule straddling both main tours.

And he believes the DP World Tour is in decent shape despite many of its prize funds being dwarfed by the gargantuan sums at stake in the US and on the LIV Tour.

“I think what’s happened in the last year or so, we’ve got sidetracked in thinking that $20m or $100m 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 $2m or $3m on this tour, that is not enough.

“I still think that this tour has grown, I think with the alliance with the PGA Tour, with the prize money, guaranteed to grow ever year over the next 13 years, I think that’s good for the Tour.

“I think it’s sustainable, which is the big thing.”

Lowry is ensconced in the peak years of his career, a major winner driven by that primary ambition to play on a winning Ryder Cup team. He also has a sense of legacy that should serve well the PGA Tour’s player advisory committee.

“Jack (Nicklaus) and Arnold (Palmer), they passed it down to Freddie Couples and those guys and they passed it down to Tiger (Woods),” Lowry said.

“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.”