Sunday 4 December 2016

Lowry aiming to swap blue talk for greenbacks

GOLF

Brian Keogh IN MIAMI

Published 01/03/2016 | 02:30

Graeme McDowell plays from the fairway during the final round of the Honda Classic at PGA National, Florida. Photo: Peter Casey/USA Today
Graeme McDowell plays from the fairway during the final round of the Honda Classic at PGA National, Florida. Photo: Peter Casey/USA Today

Shane Lowry can expect a fine of around $5,000 from the PGA Tour for his F-bomb splashdown at the Honda Classic on Sunday night.

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But if all goes to plan this week, it's not a fine for blue language but big pile of greenbacks that lies in store if he can conquer the Blue Monster and pocket the $1.62m on offer to the winner of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

The Offaly star (28) admitted that his Twitter feed "lit up" on Sunday after the NBC broadcast began with him berating himself by shouting "you f***ing idiot" after a water-bound tee shot at the 15th led to a double-bogey five.

Tweeting "So I said a bad word.... Shoot me!" will not have made the PGA Tour less likely to impose one of their usual hefty fines.

The world No 23 might well have wondered why his playing partner Smylie Kaufman appeared to get little social media flak for snapping his seven-iron over his knee after hitting his tee shot in the water just moments earlier.

Whatever the financial implications, it's not the first time that Lowry has raised eyebrows for his colourful use of the English language.

When he won the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur, the tension was such in the back nine that he delivered a few well chosen pearls to the boom mics, prompting David Garland, the European Tour's director of operations, to ask the Clara man's manager to pass on some friendly advice.

Lowry wore the same sheepish look he displayed on Sunday when he turned up at Trump National Doral yesterday to do a photoshoot for one of his sponsors.

But having finished tied 53rd at PGA National, he's determined to conserve energy and put in a good performance around the Blue Monster in a no-cut World Golf Championship event that offers huge world ranking (and Ryder Cup qualifying) points.

"I said to (caddie) Dermo, we won't have any trouble sleeping next Sunday night after four rounds on this course and four rounds at Doral," Lowry said of the challenge of his high-profile schedule.

"Mentally you just have to be rested," he said of the challenge of playing a big event every time he tees it up.

"Doral is just brutally tough. The golf course is scoreable but you really need to have your game and miss it in the right spots."

The big winner at the Honda Classic was Adam Scott, whose first win with a conventional putter for more than five years catapulted him to ninth in the world.

The other winner was Graeme McDowell, who finished a fine solo fifth to remain in the top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings, thus qualifying for this week's WGC-Cadillac Championship.

At 73rd in the world, the Ulsterman knew he had to perform and make it to Miami to have any chance of securing his place in the top 64 in the world who will play the WGC-Dell Match Play in Texas a fortnight before Augusta. His finish catapulted him 18 places up to 55th.

Rory McIlroy won't be pushing any panic buttons following his second successive missed cut in the Honda Classic, but if the world No 3 thinks that winning the Masters will be easier because there will be less focus on him and more on Jordan Spieth, Jack Nicklaus believes he's mistaken

"He's still got to play. "He's still got to shoot the lowest score. Just because you guys are going to write about it, it has nothing to do with what he thinks about it," said Nicklaus.

McIlroy was hit with a PGA Tour fine at Doral last year, having hurled a club into a lake after a dunking his approach to the eighth only to have it presented to him the following day by owner Donald Trump - now a potential Presidential candidate - who had it rescued from the deep by a frogman.

Irish Independent

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