Lowry has taken Memorial final round ‘on the chin’ and hopes to put things right at US Open

Offaly player expects stiff challenge at Pinehurst, but says it will be the same for everyone

Ireland's Shane Lowry on the 16th tee during a practice round for the US Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Photograph: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The healing process has had to be a quick one, especially in Shane Lowry’s case. His tortuous final round – an 85 – in the Memorial tournament provided one of those days which left him on the verge of tears and, if this wasn’t a US Open week, he most likely wouldn’t have played.

Fate, though, has a way of barging its way to those in need. Lowry was one of those in attendance at Pádraig Harrington’s World Golf Hall of Fame induction on Monday night and so too was Dr Bob Rotella, the noted sports psychologist and bestselling author. They have done some work together and, conveniently, Rotella made himself available to Lowry for a half-hour talk afterwards.

“Bob is great. He told me I need to forgive myself and allow yourself to do that, that things like that happen in a career, that the one thing you can’t do is dwell on it, and you just have to forget about it and move on and go back to what I do best, and what I do best is playing the game the way I see it,” said Lowry, reflecting – with the occasional smile managing to break through – on that 85, the highest score of his professional career.

Lowry observed: “Anytime you shoot a score like that it’s not good for your mind or your game. But it is what it is, you have to take it on the chin and move on...it just got away from me. I tried over every one of those shots. I tried my best to shoot the best score I could and unfortunately that was the best score I could shoot on Sunday. That’s golf! The one thing is this game brings you back down to earth with a bang, and that’s what it did to me.


“That is what golf is. It is a little bump in the road to whatever is coming next, and hopefully I can get it out of my head...days like that make the good days better and my next good day will be very good. I have an opportunity this week maybe to do something a bit different, and to come back after a round like that would be special.”

Shane Lowry on the sixth tee during a practice round for the US Open. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The time for reflection has been brief. The meet-up with Rotella was timely. But, also Lowry’s trip from Dublin, Ohio to Pinehurst, North Carolina, meant meeting up with his team – coach Niel Manchip, manager Brian Moran as well as his dad Brendan – which eased the anguish. “I wouldn’t have liked to have been on my own Sunday night,” he admitted.

Lowry’s solution was to grind hard on Monday, spending a lot of time on the short game area and the range. “I don’t normally do that, I needed to get it out of my system,” he said.

Same thing Tuesday, to the point where the sweet sound of club face hitting ball had brought a smile and some self-deprecating jokes at his own expense.

Still, the mind had moved on to the task ahead on a golf course likely to inflict more pain on one and all. “It’s going to take a decent mental grind to get over the next few days to perform well this week... once I get on the first tee I’ll do my best, hit the shots I see and try to play the game as best I can. It is going to be tough but I will give it my best.

Shane Lowry chipping on the eighth hole at Pinehurst No 2 course

“The one thing is it is going to be tough for everyone out there, and I know how to manage my way around these golf courses. I know how to manage my way around Major championships.”

Indeed, Lowry’s form so far this season – up to that blip, or speed bump or whatever it was on Sunday – has been solid with some standout moments. Winning the Zurich Classic with Rory McIlroy. Shooting a record-equalling low round 62 in a Major at the US PGA. Numerous hole-outs with approach shots. Tenth on the FedEx Cup standings. The glass-half-full philosophy part of his psyche.

For this Major examination Lowry has been given a good grouping too. With Keegan Bradley, who he sees regularly at The Bears in Florida. With Martin Kaymer, winner in 2014. “It’s going to be a real mental battle this week but one that I think I’ll be ready for,” said Lowry.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times