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'Somebody will do it next week and it will be one of the most special weeks of their whole lives - I just hope it's me'

Shane Lowry looks ahead to next week’s historic Open Championship at St Andrews.
Jul 7th 2022, 1:48 PM 5,877 2

SOME OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS are more equal than others. 

The edition of and stage for next week’s championship invests it with more prestige than most that have gone before it: the 150th Open Championship, held at the Old Course, St Andrews. Jack Nicklaus once said any golf career is not complete without winning the Open at the Home of Golf, and there are emblems of the course’s status littered throughout the week: St Andrews, for instance, is the only course on the Open rota which hosts a Champions Dinner on the Tuesday before the competition starts.

Shane Lowry will be one of those pulling up a chair. 

“Somebody will do it next week and it will be one of the most special weeks of their whole lives”, says Lowry. “I just hope that person is me.” 

Lowry has contended several times this year without winning, finishing second at the Honda Classic before tying third at the Masters and then the RBC Heritage on consecutive weeks. He then ended a lengthy run of weekend appearances at the majors by missing the cut at the US Open and looked at severe risk of leaving last week’s Irish Open early too, but birdied the final four holes to sneak the right side of the cut line. 

He then shot a 68 and 67 to finish in the top 10 at Mount Juliet, and then headed straight to Adare Manor for the JP McManus Pro-Am where he finished third in the professionals’ competition, two shots off winner Xander Schauffele. This is all to say – he might have found form at just the right moment. 

“Mount Juliet was very close to being a disastrous week, to be honest. I did something pretty cool on Friday to make the cut and then I had a really nice weekend, and felt like I wasn’t that far away at the end of the week. I laugh at golf sometimes, it’s a funny game and such a fickle sport.

“I was four holes away from having the weekend off and being pretty annoyed at my game and going to Adare and searching for something over those two days, but I went on and played really nice golf on Saturday and Sunday and played really, really nice at Adare and gave myself a chance to win that, which is pretty cool.

“It’s a different setting to normal and was a bit more relaxed, and you’re taking pictures and signing autographs between holes and trying to give everyone as good a time as you can, but I can still take a lot away from it and I’m still excited for next week. Friday afternoon with four holes to go I was probably a bit nervous about going to St Andrews, but now I’m very excited for it.” 

Lowry isn’t playing this week’s star-studded Scottish Open in preparation for St Andrews, and will instead mimic Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy by practising around Ireland. 

“I could tell you where Rory and Tiger are going!”, he laughed, saying that might direct the crowds away from his tune-ups. “But I think I’m going to go out to Portmarnock this afternoon. I don’t know where I’ll be the next few days but it’ll be somewhere near Dublin. I might try and take a trip to Baltray to bring back some good memories [of winning the Irish Open in 2009]. I did that before the Open [in Portrush], but I am just around Dublin the next few days and get as much prep in as I can.” 

McIlroy is the only member of the world’s top 15 players not playing this week in Scotland, a tournament whose slot immediately prior to the Open has been made more attractive by the fact the tournament is now co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour, meaning there are FedEx Cup points on offer. 

shane-lowry Shane Lowry announced as a brand ambassador for Jameson. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Should the Irish Open chase the same status? The star-dust in the line-up at Adare Manor accentuated the lack of big names at Mount Juliet days earlier, though Lowry is unconvinced that would be the right path for the Irish Open to pursue. 

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“The Scottish Open works perfectly because a lot of the American golfers want to come over anyway and play the week before the Open and it’s always very close to where the Open is”, said Lowry. 

“I think it’s really good. Going forward, I think we should possibly talk about trying to find a new date for the Irish Open. I don’t think co-sanctioning would work, I’m not sure. Obviously if it did, it would help me immensely because it would be a tournament for both tours.” 

It would be beneficial to Lowry today, but it may not have been so back in 2009, when there was space for him to launch his career with that magnificent, rain-soaked win at Baltray as an amateur. 

“But even if you look at the Scottish Open, there are a number of European Tour players who are not in the field because it’s co-sanctioned and there’s a lot of PGA Tour players taking part”, he continued. “Rightly so, they are in the field and taking their spots. If the Irish Open was co-sanctioned there would be less starts for the European Tour players, and Irish players as well. Amateurs as well. I’m not sure if it would necessarily be a good thing for the tournament.” 

Lowry said he never thought he would do anything better than win the Irish Open as an amateur…and then he won the Open at Portrush. That might yet be eclipsed, too. 

“I actually always said that I don’t think I could beat what I did at Baltray, but now I don’t think I could beat what I did at Portrush. We’ll see. I think it would definitely be up there. Anyone that plays golf knows that St Andrews is the home of golf, it’s the holy grail. It would be very, very special to win something like The Open at St Andrews.”

Shane Lowry was speaking at his unveiling as a brand ambassador for Jameson. To find out more about Jameson visit www.jamesonwhiskey.com. 

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Gavin Cooney

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