Shane Lowry hasn't wasted time in feeling out the Olympic vibe for himself. The golf course at Kasumigaseki is over 50 kilometres out from the Olympic zones in the city. But the 2019 British Open Champion found time to pop into the Olympic Village and mix it with the athletes.
Lowry has been energetic about his enthusiasm to compete in the Olympic Games and he came away from his village visit wishing that the distance to the course had not made it impractical to be billeted among the athletes.
"It was pretty cool to go and see the Olympic Village and it's actually quite disappointing that we can't stay there," said Lowry, who will be playing his opening round with Britain's Tommy Fleetwood and American Patrick Reed with Rory McIlroy partnering this year's Open winner Collin Morikawa and Korean Sungjae Im.
“I think I’d really enjoy staying there. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of being around the other athletes, especially all the Irish people. I got to meet quite a few of them and you actually see how much the Olympics means to other people, and what it means to the other athletes.”
An infusion of the atmosphere is one thing. But Lowry is also in Tokyo to compete. The field of 60 is less than half of what he is used to on the PGA Tour and with just four American players, there’s a feeling that a winner could come from almost anywhere.
“Right now that I’m here, it means a lot to me and it would mean a lot to me to bring a medal back to Ireland,” said Lowry.
“That’s the main reason I’m here. Yes, I’m here to enjoy myself, but I’m here to work and I’m here to bring back a medal, and that’s the way I’ve looked at this week. That’s the way I’ve looked at it over the last few weeks and hopefully I can do that.”
He believes the winning score for the four round strokeplay competition is going to be low and relatively more competitive as there are just three prizes on offer, different to the trickle down money on the Tour.
“There will be a huge emphasis this week on trying to get off to a good start and putting yourself in the mix,” he said. “Like I said, because of what the Olympics means to me and to everybody in Ireland, and to Team Ireland, I’d love to produce a medal for them.”