In addition to a hole in one, many a golfer dreams of an albatross. A triple shot win on just one hole is a rare event in golf and worth just as much jubilation and excitement as a hole-in-one. For Shane Lowry, it happened on the fourth day of the Farmers Insurance Open and the 36-year-old PGA Tour winner holed out for an albatross. The magic happened on the first par-5 of the South Course at Torrey Pines. Shane Lowry holed his ball from 234 meters and celebrated. In the end, the Ryder Cup player finished tied 25th at the Farmers Insurance Open 2024.
Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka are off to a perfect start at the 2023 Ryder Cup. The Irish-Austrian duo defeated Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa with 2&1. In the interview after the first session at the Ryder Cup in Rome, the two speak openly about their nerves and how they enjoyed being celebrated by the fans together at the same time.
Question: How big does this moment feel?
Shane Lowry: Huge, obviously it’s early days but I wanted to give Sepp his moment in the Ryder Cup to hole the pin winning putt. It’s huge. We are off to a great start this morning. We need to keep the foot down. Myself and Sepp gelled well today. Very happy out there with him and enjoyed myself.
Question: Sepp, how much did you enjoy your first taste of a Ryder Cup?
Sepp Straka: Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Can’t really describe it. The expectations didn’t even come close.
Question: How well did you play together? How comfortable did you feel with each other today?
Shane Lowry: We’ve probably known for maybe a couple of weeks that we might go out this morning together. You know, we played the same golf, all use the same stuff, so kind of made sense. We were similar-type people but I’m a bit more fiery than him. Sepp is very laid back. We enjoyed it out there, and I feel like we played some good golf.
Felt like we dodged a few bullets out there, especially 11 and 12, around then, but you know, you’re going to have that in match play. Just have to dig deep and we did. You know, I would have liked to close out the match earlier because we had good chances, but it was nice to put a point on the board for Europe.
Question: A third blue point on the board for The European Team today. Got to ask you Shane, you stepped out on the first tee and one of the first things you saw was Viktor Hovland chipping in at first. How much did that motivate you?
Shane Lowry: I was trying to stay calm and started losing my mind on the first tee. Yeah, for a guy they say can’t chip, Viktor did all right on that hole.
Look, we are very happy with our start today and obviously there’s a lot of golf to be played from here. We talked about getting off to a fast start and we have done.
Question: How are the nerves hitting the first tee shot in your first Ryder Cup?
Sepp Straka: Very. Very nervous. Yeah, couldn’t even really describe. The blood was flowing. Heartbeat was up. Thankfully I made contact with the ball, so I think that’s a win.
Question: You didn’t play foursomes at Whistling Straits. How different was this experience today?
Shane Lowry: Yeah, it was cool. Look, I came here with an open mind this week; I’ll do whatever the captain asks me. He wanted me to go out this morning with Sepp.
It’s nice to go around with a Rookie and bring him around the place. I think the last few days got the Rookies ready for what today was going to be like. It was amazing.
It’s my first home Ryder Cup, as well, and obviously last time at Whistling Straits wasn’t the best experience and out there today was just incredible. With the crowd cheering you down every green and every fairway, it’s incredible to have home support.
It’s back to the big stage for Shane Lowry at the 2023 Ryder Cup. After losing Whistling Straits, Lowry can now prove critics wrong and bring the trophy back to Europe. The 36-year-old achieved his greatest success in 2019 by winning the Open Championship. Lowry has also enjoyed some success on the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour). Can Shane Lowry now justify his Captain’s Pick and thrill European fans at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club?
Shane Lowry at the Ryder Cup 2023
Shane Lowry has three top-20 finishes in majors this year, including a tied twelfth at the 2023 PGA Championship in May. He also managed the same result at the 2023 Scottish Open in July. Additionally, he boasted a shared fifth-place finish at the Honda Classic earlier this year. Still, some critics wonder if players who have already posted victories this year wouldn’t be better off in the European squad. On the DP World Tour, for example, Adrian Meronk won the 2023 Italy Open (played on the same course as the Ryder Cup) and was also well ahead of Lowry in the Ryder Cup rankings, but was ultimately left out.
But Luke Donald seems to have faith in Shane Lowry, who seems to be playing for strong finishes at the majors in particular, and thus consistently playing a role in the concert of the greats. The captain knows the Irishman and sees him born for the scenario on the big stage. So it will be exciting to see if Shane Lowry, who has had a season marked by few highlights, will be enough in the end to put the fear of God into the Americans.
Shane Lowry also in Rome for the 2023 Ryder Cup after Whistling Straits
Lowry has already been on the hallowed turf of the Ryder Cup once, and even then he was a captain’s pick on Team Europe. And so the Irishman experienced the 19-9 debacle up close in 2021. Lowry left Whistling Straits with a 1-2-0 record and failed to beat Patrick Cantlay in the singles on Sunday. But that shouldn’t impress the father of two daughters and should only give him more motivation on home soil. Thus, he already announced with regard to the strong Team USA: “I will not be afraid of anyone standing on the first tee”.
The biggest successes in Shane Lowry’s career
Shane Lowry made his debut in May 2009, when he competed in the Irish Open on the former European Tour as an amateur and spectacularly claimed his second home victory in the tournament’s history. After initially struggling as a professional, he won the Portugal Masters in 2012. In 2015, Lowry played on the PGA Tour and won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.
But the 36-year-old Irishman celebrated his greatest success to date in 2019 at The Open Championship in July at Royal Portrush after a round of 63 (course record) on Day 3 and ended up winning by a full six shots over Tommy Fleetwood. That will be followed by victory at the BMW PGA Championship in September 2022, one stroke ahead of McIlroy and Rahm. Add to that several top ten finishes at majors, and the man from Ireland has raked in around 16 million in his career. Now the next challenge awaits Lowry: making amends for the past Ryder Cup.
A look inside Shane Lowry’s golf bag at the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Shane Lowry will also be using his sponsor Srixon for the major event of the year. With the ZX5 driver, Lowry is getting a titanium driver with a weighting on the back end of the driver into the bag. This gives the driver a more stable swing path and more height in the ball flight. Complemented by TaylorMade’s Sim2 and M5 woods, it is well positioned for the long holes of the Marco Simone course. For irons, he returns to Srixon and initially relies on a Driving Iron from the ZX Utility range. For the regular irons, Lowry also relies on a composite set of the Distance irons from the ZX5 Mk II range, as well as the Players irons from the 2023 version of the ZX7.
With the Cleveland wedges of the RTX 4 series in 50 degrees and 58 degrees, he relies on high-performance wedges from the specialists in the short game. His bag is completed by the Odyssey Stroke Lab Exo 2-ball putter and the Srixon Z-Star Tour golf ball.
Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power are excited to tee it up in front of the packed home crowds at Mount Juliet Estate for this week’s Horizon Irish Open.
The home favourites will be backed by Irish golf fans in their thousands, with a sold-out weekend and only a limited number of tickets remaining for the first two days, as all three players return to compete on home soil for the first time this year. Harrington, the 2007 winner of this event, arrives in County Kilkenny having secured his maiden Senior Major title at last week’s U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley, where he earned a one-stroke victory over fellow former Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker.
Power, the World Number 36, returns to his home Open for the first time in three years and the first time since becoming a PGA TOUR winner at the 2021 Barbasol Championship in Kentucky.
The highest-ranked player in the field at Mount Juliet is 2019 Open Champion Lowry, who currently occupies 24th on the Official World Golf Ranking, and arrives home off the back of an excellent run of form during which he has missed only one cut in 2022.
Australia’s Lucas Herbert will defend the title he won in wire-to-wire fashion at Mount Juliet last year, while Rolex Series winners Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters, Aaron Rai and Min Woo Lee will also tee it up this week. Make-A-Wish Ireland, the Official Charity of the Horizon Irish Open, will benefit from the Birdies for Wishes initiative this week whereby every birdie on the 18th hole at Mount Juliet during tournament play will result in a €500 donation to the charity.
Pádraig Harrington: “It’s great to be back after a win. Great to have won on the Champions Tour. I’ve gone out there for that very reason, to win, rather than play regular events and finish in the top ten.
“Coming here, the crowds, it was a nice atmosphere with people congratulating me. I’m sure it will be like that for the rest of the week. It can be tough being at your home Open, especially if you don’t play well or you’re in the middle of the pack and things aren’t going so well, you feel like you’re letting down the fans. I think Mount Juliet lends itself to a great event. It’s got a great atmosphere. All the players are on site. So the players enjoy themselves, and with the crowds coming in, there should be a great buzz. Whoever wins here or gets themselves in contention this week will know all about it. I’m looking forward to it.
“The fans are out and it’s a great week, great venue, Mount Juliet, so I’m going to enjoy myself no matter what, wave to the crowds. My display of golf today wouldn’t give you any great confidence about how the rest of the four days, but 24 hours is a long time in golf so I’m hoping that I’ll be well rested by tomorrow.”
Shane Lowry: “I say it every year, it’s always great to come back to this event. It’s kind of close to me, and I owe a lot to it for where I am in the game with the start that I had with the Irish Open in 2009 and it gave me the kick start to my career that I really needed. It definitely gave me one up on the rest of the guys around my level at the time.
“It’s nice to come back here every year. I’m playing some good golf, and I’m just kind of excited for the week ahead, and I’m very hopeful that I put in a good performance. It’s been a nice stretch for me, and I feel confident, I feel good about my game. It’s just about managing expectation in a week like this really, but I feel like I’m doing that every week because I feel like every week I play now is such a big week, and every week I really want to do well.
“I’d love myself to do well this week. I’d love myself to be the Irishman to do well. I think obviously Séamus or Padraig, or even anybody, we were all up there on Sunday afternoon, and one of us won it. So it would be great for the tournament and it’d be great for golf if that was the case.”
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) June 29, 2022
Séamus Power: “It’s one I’ve had circled on the calendar for probably six months now, it’s going to be great. I haven’t played since 2019 as obviously the last couple years with COVID has been tricky. I think it’s going to be sold out, and it’s going to be a great week.
“As soon as I saw the draw with Shane, I thought this is going to be pretty cool. Probably some of the biggest crowds that I’ve seen, I’d imagine, with Shane. I’ve known Shane a long time. Haven’t played a ton of competitive rounds as professionals together. We played quite a few practise rounds together, so I think it’s going to be really, really good out there. Big crowds and hopefully the weather is good. It’s a completely different experience for me. I’ve played in the States for a long time. I haven’t played that many Irish Opens, and obviously none really as someone near a featured group.
“So it’s going to be a different experience. I feel like I have a good plan set up for it. At the end of the day, I’m going to start a golf tournament tomorrow morning. No matter where it is, I still have to be prepared, do proper warm-ups, having everything taken care of preparation-wise and see where my game stands.”
At the Players Championship, all eyes are on the famous 17th hole. A special highlight is when someone plays a hole-in-one on that very hole. It’s not very common, but at this year’s flagship event of the PGA Tour we saw the tenth ace in the tournament’s 40-year history at TPC Sawgrass.
Hole-in-one at the Players Championship 2022
In the third round of the tournament, which was marred by weather chaos, Shane Lowry holed the ball in one shot.
The crowd at 17 is buzzing. pic.twitter.com/449D9YEDln— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 13, 2022
This week, the Saudi International takes place for the first time under the umbrella of the Asian Tour and at the same time gathers the strongest field of players in tournament history in Jeddah. Why many of the PGA Tour players will make the long journey to Saudi Arabia should be clear to most. It is said that the players receive up to seven-figure sums just for playing. Of course, no one wants to say this publicly. Instead, the question arises year after year: For what reason do the players make such an effort?
The “Growing Game”. Real or just a politically correct discourse?
For a long time, “Growing the Game” was at the top of answers list, including both men and women, especially while the tournament was under the patronage of DP World, formerly the European Tour. In fact, that was the excuse that fit perfectly with the narrative of the global tour. Besides, the core mission was to revitalise the sport through new formats and venues, and surely the Growing Game speech looked ideal from the outside in.
New PR strategy at Saudi International
The DP World Tour has let itself off the hook by not renewing contract with the Saudis. Meanwhile, they seek for a minimum level of respect for the Saudi International. Also, it is convenient to the DP World Tour to keep the hurdles low for the big golf stars by buying into the Asian Tour. That this is but a step towards the long-awaited Saudi Super League of our own is obvious to many. Especially after the announcement of the series of ten tournaments that belong to the Asian Tour, which is sponsored by LIV Golf Investements.
The PGA Tour’s already elaborate defence strategy of denying participation to its players for lack of membership has now been breached. The way is paved for golf’s stars, but not entirely unrestricted. So what will be the new “I make a lot of money and voluntarily disregard human rights violations” this year? Shane Lowry tells us, and so does does Bryson DeChambeau.
The perfect excuse: “I’m not a politician.”
As if this fact exempts one from having an opinion or responsibility of one’s own, Lowry and DeChambeau excuse themselves by claiming that they are “not politicians”. Tyrrell Hatton pulls his head out of the noose even more expertly. “I agree with what Shane said,” was their response when Golf Post asked them about human rights and the controversies surrounding the tournament at media events in the run-up to the Saudi International.
When will people finally start speaking out?
In other words, the participants are still shying away from a public discussion about the topic. The latest answers at least show more awareness than, for instance, Bubba Watson’s “I like to travel and see other places”. But it only proves that the golfers don’t care as long as there is enough money involved. After all, just like Lowry says: “I’m earning a living for myself and my family and trying to provide for them. This is just part of it.” After earning over €16 million in prize money, an unconvincing argument to the least.
The other side of the coin: Golf boost.
There is no denying that the Saudis’ investment gives golf a decent boost. Apart from the efforts at home, the question is justified to what extent the PGA Tour’s record prize money, the strategic alliance with the European Tour, as well as its cooperation with DP World, and the increase in prize money, were triggered by the developments around the possible competition of a Saudi Super League or even a Premier Golf League. According to the motto “competition stimulates business”.
On the other hand, press conferences and marketing before the Saudi International are the best example of “sportswashing” in action. Instead of legitimate critical questions, it’s all about superficial matters. There is more attention going into the last Christmas, and the upcoming Netflix documentary, among other topics. Not to mention how beautiful the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, venue of the Saudi International, is. Not only media, but also golf fans alike are fed up. The visibility of the Saudi International on English free TV has grown a lot. However, despite the multiple other sport press conferences, no one is speaking out.
Considerably more honorable to be straight up
National Club golfer Alex Perry is not entirely wrong. “We’d have a lot more respect for you guys if you’d just say you’re only doing it for the money. We can all relate to that. You are not politicians, but you are human beings.”
In contrast, Jason Kokrak, is an ambassador for Saudi Golf. Kokrak comes across as downright refreshing with his brutal honesty: “Money makes the world go round. If someone pays me enough money so that my children’s children have an advantage in life, then I’ll take full advantage of it.”
Tyrrell Hatton returns to defend his title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, joined by four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy who also begins his 2022 DP World Tour campaign at the opening Rolex Series event of the season.
Hatton claimed a record fourth Rolex Series title last year in Abu Dhabi, with a four-stroke victory, but will defend on a different course as the stunning Yas Links hosts the tournament for the first time. The Englishman will nevertheless be in confident mood as he targets a fourth successive winning season on the DP World Tour.
McIlroy, meanwhile, has come close to victory in Abu Dhabi on multiple occasions and boasts four victories in neighbouring Dubai, so the Northern Irishman will be hopeful of challenging for the title come Sunday.
His Ryder Cup team-mate Shane Lowry finished 2021 strongly, with a top five at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and a top ten at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, so the Irishman is excited to get going again at an event of which he counts himself a former champion.
Tyrrell Hatton: “It is strange, normally going back to a place where you’re defending you have great memories from the year before but the fact that it’s a new venue in many respects doesn’t feel like defending, and this week is going to be a new challenge for everyone. No one has played it before.
“So you don’t know how the scoring is going to be and things like that. It’s going to be a challenge. But I’ll try my best and we’ll see what happens.
“I’ve tried to treat every event the same, and not get too work up in my own mind. Obviously I kind of do that enough on the golf course. Going into it, I just need to try and treat everything the same and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career.
“This week is a new course for everyone, so it’s hard to kind of know what the rough winning score generally is. I know we’ve got a lot of wind forecast for Friday and that’s going to obviously be a challenging day for everyone. But we’ll go out there. We’ll give it our best and see what happens.”
Rory McIlroy: “(My game) feels good. I think there’s always excitement and anticipation about a new year coming around and wanting to get off to a good start.
“I’ve been playing well in practise. I’ve been practising well. I’ve done some good work over the really sort off-season that we had. But yeah, it feels good. It’s nice to come out here and have these run of events be the first events of the year. It’s perfect weather.
“It might be a little windy for the week but you can get some good practise in and you still want to do really well in the tournament but it’s a bit like, you know, just to see where your game is and see what you need to work on going into obviously the meat of the season in a couple months’ time.
“I definitely feel like I turned a corner after The Ryder Cup. I think anyone that was paying attention saw I played better those few events did I play after The Ryder Cup and it’s just trying to continue on what I’ve been working on since then.
“I think trying to eliminate the big miss off the tee, those destructive shots where you make doubles from, reign that in a little bit and getting more effective with the scoring clubs. If I do drive the ball well I give myself so many opportunities. It’s about hitting new shots that maybe go to 15 or 20 feet or inside ten feet and all of a sudden you start to hole some and get a bit of confidence there.
“There’s not much I need to work on but there’s a couple of key aspects, and I think if I can get them down early in the year, I could be in for a good season.”
Shane Lowry: “It’s obviously along the coast here, and it’s going to be quite windy, links-style, but it’s fairly tricky around the greens, and so it’s going to require a lot of good iron play. And decent with the short game if you miss the greens.
“I’m confident with my game and going into it I’d be really, really bullish about this week. But I’ve had two months without tournament, and I’m always a bit anxious on a week like this about how I’m going to be playing going into it. It’s a course I feel like would suit me.
“I won the tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club but I haven’t actually had much more success. I’ve missed a lot of cuts there.
“That’s your typical parkland with nice pristine fairways and greens and thick rough, whereas here is kind of a bit more linksy style. The course here is in incredible condition, probably one of the best-condition golf courses you’ll see fairways and greens and around the greens.”
(Text: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship)
Reigning Race to Dubai Champion Lee Westwood begins 2021 with the defence of his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title this week, and the 47-year-old feels as ready as ever for the challenge ahead in the opening Rolex Series event of the season.
The Englishman kicked off his historic 2020 campaign with the second Rolex Series victory of his career, courtesy of a two-stroke triumph over Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Victor Perez at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
That win helped propel Westwood to history, kick-starting a remarkable season which culminated in him becoming the oldest player to be crowned European Tour Number One, at the conclusion of the Race to Dubai almost exactly one month ago. Unsurprisingly, the ten-time Ryder Cup player is brimming with confidence on his return to the Middle East.
The man Westwood dethroned last year, winner of the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Shane Lowry, is also returning with high hopes. The reigning Open Champion is targeting a return to his best form as the European Points List re-starts in the race for qualification to Padraig Harrington’s 2021 European Ryder Cup team.
Lee Westwood: “It’s always good coming back to a tournament and a venue where you’ve won before. You have that little bit of confidence. I played the back nine today. I was walking up on to that 18th green and the last time I was there was when I was winning the tournament last year. It’s always a confidence booster when you come back to somewhere where you’ve won, you’re familiar with and feel like you can score well. Other than the win last year, I’ve had some good performances here. It’s a golf course that sets up well for me.
“I feel good. I came out early to the Middle East to do some pre-season. Can’t do anything at home at the moment because the golf courses are closed, and the weather is no good.
“My game feels in good shape, I don’t feel like I’ve had much of an off-season. The year finished so late last year and we’ve started early this year. I feel in good shape and driving the ball well and putting feels good. I was saying to Helen this morning that I’ve done everything, I’m getting bored and I wish it was Thursday.”
Shane Lowry: “I think if I get another win on the board and head to America in September and win the Ryder Cup that’s my goal for the year, to focus on myself and try and get another win on the board soon enough and then hopefully go to Whistling Straits in September and bring back the Ryder Cup to Europe. Obviously I want to make the team but I also want to go out there and win as well, stamp my name on that part of golf.
“Obviously I’ve had some success here in the past, in 2019. I didn’t play here for quite a few years so it was nice to come back that year and then win in my first trip back for a while. I like the tournament and I like the place but I haven’t played a tournament in definitely eight weeks, maybe more.
“The fact that we’re all competing, and we’re here in Abu Dhabi this year with the prize fund gone up a million dollars. It’s incredible what both Tours have done, the European Tour and the PGA Tour, and it’s great to be back playing and doing our jobs, and it has been for around six months now. I’d be fairly optimistic in thinking everything will go ahead, it’s just how much of a level of normality will it be, who knows.”
Text: European Tour Press Release
PGA Tour and European tour professional Shane Lowry speaks to the media ahead of the 2020 Saudi International about possible new premier golf league, the olympics, and current state of his game heading into this week.
European Tour: Shane Lowry speaks with the media prior to making Saudi International debut
STEVE TODD: Shane, thanks for joining us. Your debut in this event after the inaugural event last year. I know you got a chance to have a look at the golf course yesterday here at Royal Greens. Just give us your initial impressions of it, having played nine holes.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it’s very good. You know, I didn’t know what to expect coming here. It’s very much a Middle East-style golf course, and something that I like the look of it straightaway. It’s in great condition.
You know, hopefully I can go out and play well, but I do really like the look of the golf course, and as I said, it’s in absolutely perfect condition. So I’m looking forward to it.
STEVE TODD: You mentioned Middle East golf courses, you’ve played a lot around the Middle East and have a great deal of success. How much do you enjoy that style of golf.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I’ve done well in obviously Abu Dhabi, Race to Dubai, played okay in the Desert Classic the last couple of years. Yeah, it’s the type of golf that I like. The wind picks up here in the afternoon, which would suit me a little bit, as well. It is a type of golf that I do enjoy playing. It’s perfect weather and perfect condition golf course. You wouldn’t want to be playing anywhere else. It’s just perfect. It’s ideal, yeah.
STEVE TODD: And quick word on the game, Hong Kong, and solid week last week, as well, to come into this week.
SHANE LOWRY: Obviously I got off to a great start in Hong Kong after a long break and didn’t know what to expect. Then came to Abu Dhabi, and I sort of had a mental error on the last hole and missed the cut out of nowhere.
I felt, to be honest, last Sunday morning, just looking at last week, I finished 11th, probably would have liked to finish better, but any Sunday morning you’re sitting there eating your breakfast and feel like you have a chance to win the tournament is a good day.
Yeah, I feel like my form is okay, and hoping to do all right this week and pick up a few more World Ranking points, Ryder Cup points.
Q. You faced a couple of really tough tests in the first two events of the Middle East swing. How does this compare to those? Is it quite nice, even if it is a little easier than those two, the rough in particular?
SHANE LOWRY: I only played the back nine yesterday, and it’s obviously to the going to be as penal as Dubai was last week. I mean, that was fairly brutal how that course was set up. Brutal as in hard, not bad.
I think this golf course will obviously play a little easier, but there’s a few spots you can find yourself in a bit of trouble like, a few run-offs into the water and stuff like that, run-offs into the desert. When you don’t know a golf course, you need to figure it out fairly quickly and where the misses are.
But hopefully, obviously it won’t be as hard of scoring as last week, but it will be similar. I think it will be like similar to Abu Dhabi, sort of mid teens probably win around near, I don’t know, to be honest.
Q. Last week, the consensus it was brutal but people seemed to enjoy playing how the course was set up?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I just think we got to Sunday — if the wind didn’t blow as hard as it did Sunday, it would have been a perfect week. I think it was just a little bit brutal on Sunday. Too, with me going out, I thought if I could shoot 3- or 4-under, I would win the tournament, and it did suit the guys coming from behind. It didn’t suit the leaders at all.
Yeah, it was set up — it was fairly hard last week, not what we are used to in Dubai. So I think that’s kind of what threw everyone at start of the week. But it was good. It was a good test of golf.
Q. Having a good friend out there in the practice round yesterday, how good is it to see Cormac Sharvin on the Tour, and another Irishman there, as well?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it’s great. When I started on Tour there, was 12 Irish on Tour, and now obviously there’s not as many. It’s great to see him here. Obviously his nephew is my caddie, so there’s a bit of added interest there.
I played with him for the first time at Lahinch last year in a practice round. I was very impressed. Impressed again yesterday. Even we played with Martin yesterday, and me and Martin talked about him last night and Martin was impressed with him. Hopefully he’s got a bright future and he can get his season off to a good start this week and maybe have a good year and I suppose make The Race to Dubai or something would be a good season.
Q. We talked to a couple guys yesterday about the Olympics. I know it’s a long way off and I know the schedule is kind of brutal, but what does the Olympics mean to you, and would you ever conceive for yourself skipping if you were to qualify?
SHANE LOWRY: Well, I skipped last one. I got a bit of stick for that.
No, it’s fully in my schedule this year. I mean, I’m not guaranteed on the team yet, but it would take a really good season for someone to pass me. My flight’s booked. I’m due to fly out the Wednesday after The Open and go to the Opening Ceremony and hopefully play.
I think what it means to — look, I’d be sitting here right now, this year, sort of the second Olympics, does it mean more than the majors? Probably not. But I do see it down the line being a big thing in golf. But the thing is for me, being Irish, we don’t win many Gold Medals at the Olympics. So I think that’s one kind of goal that I have in my head; that I think it would be incredible to bring a Gold Medal back to Ireland. That’s kind of the way I’m going about it this year.
I think the Olympics will grow, and golf will grow in the Olympics and I think in 20, 30 years’ time, I think it will be huge. It will be like a fifth major I think.
But right now, you know, some people would say that the majors are probably, you know, a little bit more important, but because we play — we have the four majors. We are very lucky. We have four majors every year. Look, we’ve got 20, I play between 25 and 30 events every year, but the other Olympic athletes, they are training for four years for one thing. So that’s not the way we go about our business.
We never grew up. I never grew up dreaming of winning an Olympic Gold Medal, but it just kind of got — we got thrown into it a few years ago, and now it’s a reality. So it will be pretty cool to go out there and see what it like and hopefully come back with a medal for Ireland.
Q. The reason four years ago?
SHANE LOWRY: I did get a lot of stick for it, but the whole Zika virus thing. It was funny, myself and my wife, we had just got married and we were trying for a baby. Honestly the day before we went to, I had to make my decision, and the day before we made the decision, she found out she was pregnant. She was only five weeks pregnant at the time, and we didn’t want to take any sort of chance at all. Now we’ve got a healthy and happy little girl. No Olympic medal can match that.
Q. Did you feel it was unfair on you at that time to get that stick? A lot of guys were being accused of using the Zika virus as a convenient excuse?
SHANE LOWRY: I got accused of that, and it was a genuine excuse for me. But look, I think the way I go about my business, I don’t worry about what other people think. I just made the decision for me and my family, and that was the biggest thing for me.
Lowry Talks New Golf Tour
Q. A lot of talk about a proposed new world golf tour. What are your thoughts?
SHANE LOWRY: I genuinely don’t know anything about it. Obviously I’ve heard the rumbling about it, people talking about it, a little bit about it. But I genuinely don’t know anything about it.
It would be hard to sit here and talk about anything to do with that. I’m a European Tour and PGA Tour player. That’s what I am, and who knows what’s going to happen, but I don’t know much about it to be honest.
Q. Do you feel golf needs a shake-up or are you a traditionalist?
SHANE LOWRY: I’m very much a traditionalist. I don’t like — I don’t see new formats or anything like that being a way to go about golf.
I think golf is a great game. We’re very lucky to do what we do for a living and we’re very lucky to be involved in such a great game and such a great history. I love golf the way it is, and I’m happy with that.
Q. Can I just ask from a local point of view, this is obviously second Saudi International, and a lot of people are coming for the first time. Is it refreshing to come to a new places like this?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, look, it’s always cool and interesting to come to new places. I find The European Tour is always like that. You always go to different place, see different cultures. It is pretty cool to come to a new place and see what it’s like.
Coming here, you don’t know what to expect, and it’s been really nice so far. I’ve enjoyed my time so far here.
Q. Going back to the question of the proposed new tour, do you think you would get 48 people who are not traditionalists and very happy to take off with that, or not?
SHANE LOWRY: I don’t know. It depends what people are talking about, as well. I just don’t know. Like we’re very fortunate to play in the tournaments we play in, and for the purses and the opportunities to win big tournaments. It’s just hard to tell.
Look, there’s obviously a certain — the top of world golf is very strong at the minute. So I mean, I think you’d need those guys first, but I just don’t know if you get 48 players.
Q. Do you think perhaps people ought to be more satisfied with what they have got? You’re talking about it as if it’s all very precious, but do you think maybe —
SHANE LOWRY: What do you mean by —
Q. You’re very happy with the tours you’ve got and you’re very grateful for what you’ve got.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, look, I always say it. I’m very lucky to do what I do for a living and I love doing it. I’m very lucky to be able to provide for my family very well that way, and I think, you know, that’s the way I look at it. So I mean, I don’t know, do we need something else? I don’t know. I don’t think so. You know, right now, I’m very happy doing what I’m doing. So you know, yeah, I don’t know what else to say. I’m just very happy the way it is now. There’s nothing else I can say.
Q. Is there one thing you would change?
SHANE LOWRY: In golf?
Q. On the tours you play?
SHANE LOWRY: No. Like I say, golf’s a great game. We’re very fortunate to do — I keep saying it; we’re very fortunate to do what we do. But even you look at today, go out and playing in the Pro-Am, what other sport in the world can you go out with the sponsors the of the tournament and actually play the same golf course the day before the event? You know, stuff like that, you just can’t do in other sports. That’s why I think golf is a great game. People of all standards, age, sizes get involved and play with other people. That’s why I love the same.
Q. Sorry to come back to the professional golf tour. Right now, I think everything — years ago, people spoke about the WGCs — if 20 years from now, the majors — they have survived for more than a hundred years, and WGCs are catching up, maybe something new like this, obviously we can’t expect everything to be the way it is forever.
SHANE LOWRY: I genuinely think golf’s majors will always be the biggest thing like. I really do. I think they will always be the be all end and all for the players. That’s just the way it is. Like you said, they have stood the test of time for many years and I think they will for many more.
Obviously the WGCs have come on board and they have become quite big, and there’s obviously a lot of other big tournaments. But at the end of the day, if you win a major, you’ve hit a different level than you were at. Yeah, I don’t think that will ever change.
STEVE TODD: Shane, thanks for joining us.
January 29, 2020
King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports