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The TV snub: Is it really too much to ask to see more than five seconds of Shane Lowry?

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Shane Lowry had a nice opening round at the PGA Championship - but viewers could only see one shot. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Shane Lowry had a nice opening round at the PGA Championship - but viewers could only see one shot. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

AP

Shane Lowry had a nice opening round at the PGA Championship - but viewers could only see one shot. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry got glamour pairings for day one of the PGA Championship in San Francisco.

Four-time Major champion Rory McIlroy, seeking to win the tournament for the third time, played alongside Tiger Woods and current world number one Justin Thomas.

Shane Lowry, competing in the first Major since winning the Open championship in spectacular fashion at Royal Portrush last summer, was with golfing Terminator Brooks Koepka - looking to win a third PGA Championship in-a-row - as well as reigning US Open champion Gary Woodland.

So, a lot of star power.

Rory McIlroy treated us to what has become a typical Rory McIlroy Major championship round. There was the customary burst of birdies - three in four holes between his sixth and ninth holes. Unfortunately for the Northern Irishman, there was also a hat-trick of dropped shots at his fourth, fifth and sixth. His back nine was mixed too and he finished on level par, five off clubhouse leader Jason Day.

Woods provided similarly compelling viewing, playing remarkably well for a man who had only competed in one tournament since golf resumed, ending his day on -2. Every shot from both players, as you'd expect, was screened for the viewers at home.

Shane Lowry posted an impressive round of -2, the same as Woods, leaving himself just three off Day. Three birdies and a bogey, which we will have to presume was a solid 18 holes given the TV coverage showed a total of one shot from the Offaly golfer all evening.

Not one drive. Not one approach shot. Not one up-and-down. Finally, after five hours, we were granted a tap in par putt at the second last.

Hallelujah.

Surely it's not being too one-eyed to suggest that the Open champion, the man who scorched clear of the field in the last Major, be featured on our screens for more than five seconds - bar the time he walked across the camera as Koepka or Woodland prepared to take a shot.

Sky Sports aren't to blame, as they are simply using the US feed. It's not as if it's a bias against Europeans, as players like the less well-known Bernd Wiesberger and Alex Noren got half-decent air-time. You might not even begrudge the host broadcaster spending time with unheralded Americans, even if they are less known in their own country than the Open champion.

In 2018 when the PGA Championship was streamed online, Brooks Koepka won it for the first time. That Sunday, Lowry was hovering around the top ten on the back nine and Irish fans were frustrated to only be shown a handful of shots.

That was a justified TV decision. This is harder to fathom. It's not as if Lowry was playing with two amateurs. He was with a box office star and a man, like himself, who won his first Major last year. Only Gary Woodland fans would have left their seat at the end of the round sated with the on-screen contributions from their man.

Nobody would ask or expect Lowry to be featured as regularly as McIlroy playing alongside Tiger Woods, or anywhere close. But considering Lowry won a Major in spectacular fashion last year and the other hasn't won one in six, more than five seconds shouldn't be too much to ask.

Online Editors