Shane Lowry not dwelling on where he might have been ahead of Memorial

Irish golfer would have been defending his British Open title were it not for Coronavirus

Shane Lowry is in action at the Memorial tournament in Ohio this weekend rather than defending his British Open title at Royal St George’s. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

By rights, Shane Lowry would have handed back the Claret Jug last Monday and be defending his British Open title at Royal St George's on England's south coast.

Instead, in this ulterior universe, he nor anyone could have envisaged when getting his hands on the great prize at Royal Portrush 12 months ago what would unfold. Lowry is trying to make sense of it all and to focus on the Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village in Ohio, which – given the skewed scheduling of golf’s return behind closed doors – is, as he put it “the biggest tournament in the world this week, a huge tournament in its own right”.

A year on from his greatest career success, the 31-year-old Offalyman flicked on the Golf Channel in his room to discover he was the star of the show as the station replayed his 2019 Open win. Good vibes perhaps, but his focus has switched to the task at hand at Muirfield Village.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hard to get my head around the fact we’re not playing [the Open this week] because I don’t dwell on things. Things happen. We’re certainly not in control of what’s happening in the world at the minute, we have to deal with the cards we’re given.”


And Lowry – winless since that championship on the Causeway Coast – is intent on ensuring that his career is not defined by that Major breakthrough and that there is a hunger to drive on.

“It’s great that I got to achieve something like that. I might say I’m happy with what I have. I’m still very driven and very focused on achieving more things in my career. But, no matter what happens, I’ll always have that and I’m pretty happy with that.”

Lowry – who will have his brother-in-law on this bag this week on a one-off, with regular caddie Bo Martin set to return to duty at next month's WGC-St Jude – has failed to fire on all cylinders since the PGA Tour's restart, missing the first two cuts. But he saw signs of improvement in the Workday tournament last week where he had 20 birdies and an eagle en route to a tied-39th finish on the same Muirfield Village course.

“I’m still fairly optimistic where my game is at. I made 20 birdies and an eagle last week, and I’m pretty happen with that, and I kind of just need to cut out the mistakes this week, and you never know what could happen,” said Lowry.