Wednesday 21 August 2019

'They're not calling me Beef or JB out there' - Shane Lowry on one perk of being the Open champion

Jovial Lowry enjoying extra recognition as he prepares for competitive return after Open win

New territory: Shane Lowry is looking forward to playing in his first FedEx Cup. Photo: Getty Images
New territory: Shane Lowry is looking forward to playing in his first FedEx Cup. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry is still pinching himself after making all his dreams come true but has no plans to change to magic formula that made him an Open champion.

While Rory McIlroy believes the Clara man will wear the mantle of Major winner with ease and also warned him about time management and the loss of privacy, Lowry is determined to put the clock back to zero and stick to the mantra that got him where he is today.

"Myself and my coach, we had great conversations at the start of the year, and literally all we talked about is: No matter what happens next week, no matter what happens today, there's always tomorrow," Lowry said ahead of the Northern Trust in New Jersey and the start of the FedExCup Playoffs.

"Obviously I won The Open and I'm a Major champion, but that doesn't give me the God-given right to go out and shoot 65 tomorrow."

Lowry didn't touch a club for eight days after The Open, then spent a week playing golf with friends during a family holiday in Portugal.

He's 20th in the FedExCup standings and knows two good weeks will give him a chance of winning that $15 million (€13.4m) top prize in the FedExCup Playoffs.

But while he's determined to push on now, win more events and make Pádraig Harrington's 2020 Ryder Cup team, he admits it all still feels a bit surreal and he's happy to enjoy the moment for now.

"I'm not sure it's quite fully sunk in yet to be honest," he said.

"I just did an interview there with Sky Sports, and Andrew [Coltart] introduced me as the Champion Golfer of the Year.

"It's almost like you have to pinch yourself. I'm sure it's something over the coming weeks or months or however long it takes, it will sink in.

"Obviously it's been an incredible couple of weeks. The win in Portrush I didn't know whether I would actually get a chance to live something like that. That's like a dream come true almost.

"These last couple of weeks have come upon me quite quickly and now I'm back tomorrow trying to play some tournament golf.

"I'm looking forward to getting back going. I'm looking forward to the FedExCup. It's my first FedExCup so I'm excited.

"I'm in a nice position going into these couple of events and hopefully I can move up the board a little bit and give myself a little bit of a chance come Atlanta. But look, I'm not going to be putting any pressure on myself the next few weeks.

"I'm a very ambitious person and I'm a very ambitious golfer, as well, and no matter what happens the next few weeks, I'm very happy with my season so far."

McIlroy, who comes into the week ranked second to Brooks Koepka in the FedExCup standings, is convinced Lowry will slip easily into the Major winner's role.

But he's also warned him that life will never be the same again and he must not to take his eye off the ball while also enjoying the celebrations to the hilt.

"Everyone knows Shane well enough to know that he will wear that very well," McIlroy said. "He will take it in his stride I think.

"I think the only thing for him is just to make sure that he manages his time well. You have to realise what got you there, and you can't neglect what got you there."

He added: "I think if anything, for Shane, some of that anonymity that he enjoyed in the past, even in Ireland, is probably going to be gone, which you know, from experience, isn't necessarily a great thing.

"Sometimes it's nice just to be able to hide away and not have people know who you are or feel like you're on display all the time. But as I said at the start, he'll wear it well. He already has. I mean, look at the reception he's had from everyone at home."

Lowry has enjoyed more recognition in the US already and while he pointed to the standing ovation he got in Croke Park as one of the highlights of his celebrations, he's relished not being confused with other golfers for a change.

"They are not calling me Beef; or they are not calling me JB Holmes out there, anyway," he joked. "That's a plus.

"The support I've got back home has just been incredible. Hopefully it's going to going to get kids playing the game."

As for those celebrations the night of his win and his rendition of the 'Fields of Athenry' in a Dublin bar, he grinned and said: "There was plenty more moments from that night that wasn't captured on video thankfully."

While his Clara homecoming was truly memorable, he singled out the standing ovation he received from 60,000 fans at Croke Park as "the coolest thing did.:"

"That's like the mecca in Ireland," he said. "That's the stadium. That's where you want to play. When I was a kid, that's the only place you wanted to play. It was pretty cool doing that."

  • The Northern Trust, Live, Sky Sports, 7.0
  • Women's Scottish Open Live, Sky Sports, 3.30

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