Shane Lowry: only Masters win could compete with Portrush

Open champion sure he can ‘pull it off’ if the opportunity arises to grab Green Jacket

Shane Lowry talks to the media during practice yesterday for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Two months have passed since Shane Lowry took delivery of the Claret Jug and, with it, all manner of life-changing add-ons. That this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth marks Lowry's first start in Europe since "Open champion" was added to his CV means waves of congratulations have again been forthcoming. Lowry was afforded honorary life membership of the European Tour yesterday.

“Golf is funny,” Lowry said. “Myself and Neil [Manchip, his coach] talk about it a lot; you don’t win one major and people ask you when you’re going to win one. You win one, they ask you when you’re going to win your next one.

"I'm going to enjoy this one. Thankfully we don't have another major for a while, but I think the only thing that could come close to doing what I did in Portrush would be [a] Green Jacket."

That the Masters is the next major on golf’s schedule, albeit still seven months away, hasn’t been lost on the Irishman. “If I put myself in that position again, I know I can do it,” he added.


“Belief-wise, I always feel like I kind of believed, but I wouldn’t be a cocky type of person, so I wouldn’t like to think about it too much. I just go about my day-to-day life, try and do things the way I want to do them and see where it leaves me at the end of the week and the end of the day.

“I suppose, look, when I’m in that situation again – hopefully I’m in that situation again a few times – I know I can pull it off. I’m quite eager to get on with my golf and trying to achieve – different goals I have the rest of the year.”

Letters of congratulation from Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, members of golf's royalty, resonated deeply with Lowry. Equally so, the scale of the reaction in his native Ireland. "The days and the weeks after, the Claret Jug is at home on the countertop in the kitchen and it's incredible," Lowry said.

Pinch yourself

“I’ve gotten so used to it but you see the reaction when other people see it, how special it is. You wake up and you pinch yourself after doing it. The thing with the Open Championship is the history of the trophy and the history of the tournament; it is just incredible.”

That Lowry tends to remain on an emotional even keel is unquestionably to his benefit. As the leader of the European Tour’s order of merit, he has plenty upon which to focus as the season edges towards its conclusion. External distractions have to be regarded as precisely that.

Shane Lowry: ‘Thankfully we don’t have another major for a while, but I think the only thing that could come close to doing what I did in Portrush would be [a] Green Jacket.’ Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“I’m actually not a great person at saying ‘no’ to people,” Lowry explained. “The lads give me a slap on the wrist for that every now and then.

“Obviously my time, we have talked about it a lot. We’ve had a lot of meetings over the last while.

“We’ve talked about how my time is obviously a bit more valuable now when I’m at home just to get my stuff done and to get my time with the family and do all that type of stuff, and then when I’m away at tournaments, to make sure that I use my time wisely. Stuff like that.

“It’s all going to take getting used to, but it’s all good things. It’s not bad things.”

Lowry will be alongside Rory McIlroy for the first two rounds this week. on the European Tour. McIlroy comes in off the back of taking the $15m prize at the Tour Championship in East Lake before losing out in a playoff at the Omega European Masters the following week.

Justin Rose’s Wentworth participation is in doubt after a knee injury forced him to cancel yesterday’s media commitments and withdraw from today’s pro-am. “I am doing everything I can to be fit to play on Thursday,” said the former world No 1.

“Last Thursday I slipped and jarred my knee,” the world number four said in a statement. “Since then I have been getting treatment on the injury and I have been working hard with Justin Buckthorp and my medical team away from the course.”

Rose was 12th on his last appearance at Wentworth in 2017 and has twice finished runner-up in one of the European Tour’s flagship events.

– Guardian