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Shane Lowry raring to go at US PGA; Sport is the escape room of a broken heart

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Golf's second Major of the season, the US PGA Championship, begins today in Oklahoma with four Irish players in action, including Shane Lowry, who is set up nicely for another tilt at a Major after contended in the Masters. "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.

Lowry will be teeing off at 7.03pm Irish time, as Rory McIlroy takes part in the featured group of the day, alongside Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth at 2.11pm. Ireland's Séamus Power is one of Philip Reid's five to watch, he writes that Power's putter is "proving particularly hot at present, which will be a powerful tool on the Southern Hills green complexes."

A particularly emotive personal piece by Dave Hannigan today is the America at Large column, looking at how sports help to deal with grief. He writes: "On April 7th, my ex-wife Cathy, mother of my three children, died suddenly". He continues: "If grief truly is the thing with feathers, sport might just be a comfort blanket, a fleeting diversion. The escape room of the broken heart. In a world spinning off its axis, we reach for old reliables. When so much else seems alien, there is solace in the familiar." Meanwhile, Sonia O'Sullivan writes in her column Irish athletes are succeeding despite the worst efforts of Athletics Ireland, and that essential coaches need to be considered when it comes to how the funds are dispersed.

In boxing, Lisa O'Rourke and Amy Broadhurst are on the brink of following in the footsteps of Katie Taylor and Kellie Harrington as the Irish boxing duo both win their semi-final bouts at the World Championships. Broadhurst and O'Rourke won their semi-finals in Istanbul in dramatically different ways within minutes of each other. They are also the first two women Irish boxers to make it to a world final at the same World Championships. For context, GB's six athletes failed to make it into the last four.

In today's Subscriber Only column, Ciarán Murphy writes "if heroes hang around too long they can end up villains", writing about Patrick Horgan's achievement in becoming the highest scorer in the history of the hurling championship last Sunday. "It is genuinely heroic, but he was whipped off after 45 minutes. And it's inevitable that he has in recent weeks become a lightning rod for criticism from within and outside Cork."

Meanwhile, Joanne O'Riordan writes Barcelona Femeni are breaking barriers for women's soccer, as one of the most dominant teams in the sport, finishing with a perfect season in Spain, with 159 goals scored and just 11 conceded. It was heartbreak for Aaron Ramsey and Rangers, meanwhile, in the Europa League final, as they lost to Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties last night. The Germans won their first European trophy in 42 years after 1-1 extra-time draw in Seville.