Lowry determined to regain his mojo in time for high Fota finish
CLEVERLY, the media launch of this year's Irish Open was conducted by former champion Shane Lowry on a crazy putting course on the top deck of the 90,090-tonne cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas, which brought more than 2,100 passengers to Cobh last Sunday.
Forty of these behemoths are expected to dock at the terminal this year, disgorging 80,000 visitors into tour buses and giving a huge boost to the local economy.
Which places neatly in context the massive impact of the June 19 to 22 Irish Open at nearby Fota Island, which over four days is confidently expected to match, if not surpass, the 100,000-plus spectators who attended the tournament when it last visited Co Cork in 2001 and 2002.
These days, Ireland's rich crop of Major winners keep the turnstiles humming, augmented by the likes of Italy's BMW PGA champion Matteo Manassero, who was added to the field yesterday.
Lowry was feted by championship director Antonia Beggs for illuminating the rain-doused 2009 tournament at Baltray with his sensational victory as an amateur and for gallantly carrying the flag and fan interest into the weekend at Carton last year when Ireland's Major players missed the cut.
This time, his national Open can return the favour. After missing six of his first eight cuts this year, a baffling run in which he has lost confidence in his putter, Lowry hopes playing in front of a home crowd on an atmospheric course at Fota will help rekindle his fortunes on Tour.
As he headed for PGA Catalunya yesterday and this week's Spanish Open, Lowry looked forward to blasting away the cobwebs in eight tournaments over the next nine weeks.
"I haven't had a run that long in two years and I believe it can get me going again. I just need to get out there and get my mojo going," he said.