Lowry keen to stay 'patient' as he mixes it with big guns
Shane Lowry likes the view from the top table - literally.
There he was on the eve of the 145th Open Championship on the podium faced by a battery of cameras, and a packed media interview room.
Just two players were up for formal interview yesterday - Lowry, the WGC-Bridgestone champion of 2015 and recent US Open runner-up, and the winner at Oakmont, Dustin Johnson.
This level of recognition underlines the rise in Lowry's status as an internationally-recognised contender for Major championships.
Further evidence, if it were needed, can be found in the tee-time groupings for today where Lowry tees it up at 9.03am alongside Major champions Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose.
They can expect a huge chunk of their round to be covered by Sky Sports who are going mega on coverage in their first Open as host broadcaster.
This is all very satisfactory for Lowry who had to come to terms with his disappointment at losing the chance to claim the US Open last month.
"Obviously, it's great to be here and doing a press conference on a Wednesday. And I have a really good group tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to that. I can't wait.
"That's where I wanted to be. I've been in plenty of s***ty groups over the years, so with all due respect to the golfers, I shouldn't say that, should I?" he laughed.
"But you know what I mean. I've been last off and first off. I don't mean by the players I was playing with but I meant the times more so…" and he tailed off before digging himself into a deeper hole.
Yes, we do know what Lowry means.
The lower-profile players or those on the slide tend to get the dawn and dusk patrol tee-times, so when it's the Open, a nice morning time to start in the company of the cream of the crop, we can take it that Lowry is doing something right.
All of this comes with rising expectations from within and outside the Lowry camp, but most of all from the player himself.
In the aftermath of Oakmont, the Clara native faced some soul-searching but also put a tad more pressure on himself.
"If you look at the last two weeks it's been a bit like that.
"I probably have been expecting a bit too much of myself, trying too hard.
"Trying to get up to the top of the leaderboard too quickly, and just not staying as patient as I have been for a good bit of the year.
"Because if you look at my year, it hasn't been going great up until Oakmont, but I've been staying very patient, and just trying to go along and keep playing good golf.
"I think that's just what I need to do," said Lowry.
Getting past the drama and the tension of the US Open allied to the tied-second finish took some time, but Lowry is adamant he has come to terms with the experience.
"The first few days, the Monday, Tuesday afterwards, was not easy.
"You know, I was obviously quite disappointed, and I'm not going to lie, there was a few moments where there might have been a tear shed or two. That's just the way it is.
"That's the game we play.
"I know I'll be back there. I know I'll give myself a chance again.
"It's just up to me to kind of learn from the mistakes of that Sunday afternoon and bring that into the next one," said Lowry.
Well, this is "the next one" and his many supporters in Ireland will hope to see Lowry make a good run at the title over the next few days.
He starts from a good place mentally.
"I genuinely believe that I'm, without sounding too cocky, I like the big-time play.
"I like the big tournaments. I love playing in front of the big crowds. I love playing late on Saturdays and Sundays. I think it's kind of where you want to be.
"Obviously I had a good win last year and I've been up there in a few Majors here and there.
" I just love it. I love competing at the highest level.
"So, yeah, I just hope I'm there on Saturday afternoon with a chance with 36 holes to go and we'll see after that," he said.
Lowry's practice on the Troon course concluded yesterday with a few holes in the company of Pádraig Harrington.
Now he hopes that he, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose can inspire each other to post a good early score.
"I played with Jordan last year. When I saw the draw, I was pretty happy. I feel like when you are playing with good players, they drag you along with them.
"Hopefully we can drag each other along and shoot good scores," added Lowry.