Shane Lowry: Global nature of golf could cause issues when game returns

Defending British Open champion is living in Florida during the coronavirus lockdown

Shane Lowry is unlikely to be able to defend his British Open crown this summer. Photograph:  David Davies/PA

Shane Lowry is unlikely to be able to defend his British Open crown this summer. Photograph: David Davies/PA

 

British Open champion Shane Lowry fears players from countries badly affected by coronavirus may not get visas when golf returns after the global pandemic.

Lowry believes golf could struggle to return to normality quicker than other sports when restrictions are eventually lifted, and has suggested that some players could even be prevented from playing in some parts of the world.

“The only issue I see with golf is that we all live in different countries,” Lowry told Sky Sports.

“I think that’s the big issue. When you look at the Premier League they all live in England.

“So when England is ready to open up again you can start back the Premier League.

“That’s where golf, I think, differs. It will be interesting to see what restrictions are in place when we get playing.

“I’d just be fearful that players might not get visas if they’re from certain countries. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Golf is currently in lockdown like other sports around the world.

The first two majors of the season, the Masters and US PGA Championship, have been postponed and not yet rescheduled, while June’s US Open is a major doubt due to the proximity of Winged Foot to a coronavirus containment zone.

Irishman Lowry is in Florida now having rented a house there and gave a glimpse of what life is like for him and his family during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 32-year-old, who won the Open last July amid emotional scenes at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, was playing golf until last week at a local course.

“I was playing up until then with one of my friends, just the two of us in a two-ball in two different golf karts every day.

“We’d play 18 holes and I never thought golf would be my getaway. I was just going out for a fun round to enjoy it.

“It was disappointing when the golf course was closed down, but it was kind of necessary.

“I watch the Irish news every day, I’m on my phone and keeping up to date with the whole thing. It’s not quite as bad here, but we don’t basically go outside the house.”

Lowry said he had bought gym equipment a few weeks ago, but admitted there was no chance of him matching the toned physique of world number one Rory McIlroy.

“I’ve got a little gym in the garage and it gets an hour or two out of my day,” he said.

“But I definitely won’t be coming out of the far side of this looking like Rory McIlroy.

“I’ll still be me — we still get our groceries dropped to the door!”

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