Wednesday 17 January 2018

Lowry red-faced after damaging his putter

Shane Lowry after breaking his putter in anger during the second round of the Irish Open
Shane Lowry after breaking his putter in anger during the second round of the Irish Open
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Shane Lowry admits that his passionate nature sometimes erupts in the wrong way at the wrong time.

Such was the case yesterday just three holes into Lowry's second round at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The flashpoint came on the par-five 12th hole where the 2009 Irish Open champion missed a short putt.

He could not contain the inner eruption of annoyance and banged his putter off a post holding the gallery ropes.

The putter was damaged at the handle, not by much, but enough to alter the playing characteristics of the club. As the damage did not occur in the normal course of play, it could not be replaced.

Embarrassment was the first thought. Then came the realisation he would have to find a way to putt without the specialist implement designed for duty on the greens.

A pitching wedge was the choice after some discussion with caddie Dermot Byrne.

By the time he finished the 17th, his eighth hole, where he registered another bogey to go five-over par for the tournament, Lowry was so fed up that the considered quitting.

Dermot Byrne and coach Neil Manchip were having none of it, so Lowry soldiered on.

By the end of his round, that looked a very good move, as the Offaly man got it back to four-over and that was good enough to make the cut.


"I walked off the 17th green, I said to Neil, 'There's no point in me staying out here'. I said to him, 'I'll make a show of myself'.

"I know I was quite embarrassed at the time, because it wasn't as if there was no-one around watching.

"But Dermot said to me, 'There's no way I'm letting you walk in here - you're not walking in. You can't'.

"It's not easy. You just feel like you're letting people down, your parents and the crowd watching, and what do they think? Wendy (fiancée) is there, what does she think?

"That's the way I feel about it. It's difficult, you're letting a lot of people down," said Lowry.

Well done the caddy and the coach. Instead of making a bad situation worse, Lowry knuckled down, and could be proud of his comeback.

At the finish, his dad Brendan, an Offaly All-Ireland football winner in 1982, was there to give him a hug and words of encouragement.

At least when things get rough on a football pitch, a player can take it out on an opponent or share the blame with team-mates, but in golf all the anger and frustration combusts internally. "That's golf, it's a funny game, it's a weird game. It can drive you mad sometimes.

"I holed a nice (birdie) putt on seven, but the weather when I was putting on eight was horrific. From about four feet, I was trying to two-putt it, that's how bad it was."

He apologised to playing partners Ernie Els and Francesco Molinari. Els commented: "He did wonderfully to make the cut, and hang in there. Maybe it's a good omen, he gets a new putter, who knows?"

Lowry regretted the incident but "I'm a passionate player and that's what has me where I am."

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