HE might have made a triple bogey on Sunday last, that cost him $50,000 in China, but his recent move up fourteen places in the World Rankings to number 57 now sees Shane Lowry as the highest ranked golfer from the Republic of Ireland ending Padraig Harrington's reign after sixteen years !
It's not too long ago that Harrington was chasing down the number one spot after three major victories in the space of thirteen months as he reached a personal high of 3rd in 2008, but his well-documented loss of form has now seen him overtaken by Offaly man Lowry in spite of Harrington's recent win in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Since the rankings began in 1986, eight different players have held the title of the highestranked player in the world from the Republic of Ireland beginning with Des Smyth in 1986 and over the next ten years it was held by Christy O'Connor Junior, Eamonn Darcy, Phillip Walton and Paul McGinley until Harrington took over the mantle in 1996 and held it until now.
If you want to expand and include the Northern Irish players then its reads a little differently with Smyth still the highest ranked in 1986 followed by Ronan Rafferty for four years who was then followed by David Feherty (remember him?) in 1991 before Rafferty claimed it back again for 92 and 93.
Darren Clarke then claimed it for eight years with an all-time highest ranking for an "Irish" player at the time, of 9th in 2001, before Harrington came along and managed to stay there for eight years climbing as high as 3rd in 2008.
Graeme McDowell following his US Open victory took over in 2010 reaching number 6 before Rory McIlroy became the first "Irishman" to reach number one in 2011 and there is no question but he will still be "Top Dog" at the end of 2012.
Back to Lowry and the question arises can he go higher? No doubt he has the talent but is the dedication there? I hope so. I've never met him but apparently he is an absolute gentleman who has time for everyone and I really do wish him well.