'I missed the last one. I got a lot of stick for that' - Shane Lowry targeting Olympic gold after missing Rio

Open Champion Shane Lowry with the Claret Jug. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Open champion Shane Lowry wants to be big in Japan and win Olympic gold for Ireland in Tokyo next summer.

The Clara star (32) was heavily criticised for pulling out of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 citing fears over the Zika virus.

Now that he has his hands on the silver Claret Jug, he'd love nothing better than to win Ireland's first gold medal in golf and even lead out the team as the flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony.

"It will be incredible, won't it?" said Lowry who looks certain to join Rory McIlroy, who has also committed to Ireland, on the team in Japan.

"I missed the last one. I got a lot of stick for that. I had my own reasons. But this has gone a long way to putting me on the plane for Japan."

Asked if he would like to carry the Irish tricolour into the stadium, if asked: "Absolutely!"

"I'm very excited to be going," he said. "We'll be going over the week after the Open next year for the opening ceremony so to be around all that will be pretty cool. Wins are hard to go by but hopefully I can go there and bring a medal home."

Lowry still can't believe he lifted the Claret Jug on Sunday.

"I can't stop looking at my name on it," he said.

"Where I'm from is huge GAA and I've been lucky enough, albeit a long time a go, to watch Offaly win the All-Ireland. And to hear people from there tell me this is even more special is incredible, really."

His win and the success of The Open in Portrush could be just the impetus the Government needed to persuade the European Tour to give the 2026 Ryder Cup to Adare Manor.

"People are working away at that so hopefully it happens," said Lowry, who is determined to be in Pádraig Harrington's team next year.

"It would be great to see the Ryder Cup back in Ireland."