At ease in his own skin, Shane Lowry – both hands tucked into trouser pockets and wide grins breaking out with regularity, especially when having a wisecrack with a hack over the price of beer ($18) on site at Southern Hills in Tulsa for this week's USPGA Championship – is more than ready for the challenge ahead.
Why wouldn’t he be? A three-week break has him refreshed and, on the evidence of his results prior to his downtime, which included back-to-back individual third place finishes in the Masters and the RBC Heritage last month, it all has set Lowry, the 2019 British Open champion, up nicely for another tilt at a Major championship.
“I feel recharged and ready to go for the rest of the summer. I’ve a good run of tournaments coming up. I just try and prepare as best I can for a week like this. If it doesn’t happen this week, just keep going and hopefully it will happen at some stage over the next few months. But I do feel good. I feel good where my game is at, and I’m excited for the week ahead,” said Lowry, adding:
“I think going into a big week you always have expectations of yourself. I’ve obviously been in some decent form of late. I’d like to come here and give myself a chance come Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
“That’s kind of what it’s all about, and that’s the reason we play the game. I’m quietly confident, but you always have that bit of anxiousness about you, as well, and we’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Lowry, for sure, is in a good place. His body language conveys that sense of expectation as much as his words.
You just need everything to be in the right place to win those tournaments because it's so hard to win out there in regular events, let alone Majors
The fourball with Rory McIlroy, Séamus Power and Pádraig Harrington which started at the US Masters has, it seems, become a quick part of the prep work and Lowry is at the centre of it all, hopping balls and just enjoying the craic while also taking serious note of the layout of the land in terms of getting the best out of his game with scorecard in hand.
In some ways, Lowry sees a similarity between how he is playing now and how he was playing prior to his Claret Jug success at Royal Portrush. Back then, he’d pitched up on the Causeway Coast with a third place finish in the Heritage, and a runner-up finish in the Canadian Open.
This year, he has a runner-up in the Honda Classic to go with those third placed finishes in the Masters and the Heritage. Consistently knocking on the door.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to go out there and show people what I’m made of again this week, and hopefully I can be there or thereabouts come the weekend,” said Lowry, aware that the forecast is for windy conditions when he more often than not gets an extra edge on the field.
And, of course, with the Wanamaker Trophy as the grand prize, Lowry steps into another Major week with added desire.
As he put it, “I’d love to win more Majors. But I don’t think that’s a given. I think that’s just kind of something that you need to go out and work towards and, if it comes your way, you need to take it. It’s one of those were you get four of them a year.
“It’s hard to peak your game for those weeks. It’s hard to peak your mental attitude for those weeks. You just need everything to be in the right place to win those tournaments because it’s so hard to win out there in regular events, let alone Majors. I’m a very driven and very competitive guy. I know I want to win more Majors, and I want to win more tournaments.”
First steps first will be to work his way into position over the first two rounds, and then to go in search of that second Major.