Lowry to swear by sound advice
SHANE LOWRY has been given "a gentle reminder" by European Tour chiefs of one hazard he'll encounter on the golf course at professional tournaments: super-sensitive TV microphones.
Lowry pulled off one of the most thrilling victories in Irish Open history last weekend but a few expletives were clearly heard by TV viewers as the 22-year-old gave his all in the final round.
On one occasion last Sunday, when the Clara hero reacted with frustration after playing his second shot into the eighth hole, he loudly uttered the F-word twice, which every golfer will admit is not an unnatural reaction.
Yet the golf courses used by the world's major professional tours are wired for sound. So David Garland, the European Tour's director of operations, contacted Lowry's management company, Horizon, yesterday and asked them to remind their newest client of this fact.
Describing it as "a piece of friendly advice", not a warning, Garland explained: "I spoke to Conor Ridge at Horizon and asked him to advise Shane of the presence of boom mikes on the golf course at tournaments."
As an amateur, Lowry was not subject to the Tour's general regulations and guidelines, but Garland pointed out "as gently as possible" that, as a member of the European Tour, the youngster is now subject to the members' regulations and guidelines on behaviour.
"We don't want this to diminish in any way the fantastic achievement by Shane and a truly wonderful occasion at Baltray," he added. "Now he's decided to join the Tour and take up his category, we wish him every success in future. He is an exciting addition to the Tour."
Ridge, founder and chief executive of Horizon, said last night he would pass on the advice to Lowry before he makes his debut as a professional in next week's European Open at The London Club.
"Last weekend was Shane's first Tour event and, given the intensity of his commitment and the occasion, he would have no recollection of what he said or that it could be heard," added Ridge.
It is not uncommon for Tour players in Europe and the US to be reported for uttering strong language under pressure. Though fines issued by America's PGA Tour are not made public, Tiger Woods is said to put most into the 'swear box'.
Best-placed of the three Irishmen, all from Ulster, who made the cut is Rory McIlroy on two-under after he birdied Wentworth's two par-five closing holes for a second-round 70.
Judging by the quality of some of McIlroy's shot-making yesterday, the six-stroke gap to leader Paul Casey might not be insurmountable this weekend.
The highlight of Casey's 67 was the 160-yard nine iron he holed for an eagle two at 13. Shot of the day, however, goes to McIlroy for the ingenious five-wood he drew around the treeline on the left of 17, his ball barely rising above head height as it flew more than 270 yards before bouncing short of the green and running out to 30 feet.
Graeme McDowell, playing with renewed freedom after an MRI scan on his painful right shin revealed no indications of cracks, fractures or any other potentially serious damage, made the cut on the mark, with of a birdie at the last.
Darren Clarke coped relatively well with tough scoring conditions at Wentworth yesterday as a relatively satisfying second-round 71 eased him through the cut on one-over.