Three-time Major winner, Padraig Harrington was one of the first people to congratulate great friend, Shane Lowry on becoming the 148th Champion Golfer at Royal Portrush.
Harrington was all class in hanging around for the weekend action despite missing the Open cut on Friday to watch his great friend follow in his footsteps in lifting the Claret Jug.
In the end it was a six-shot win for the Clara golfer and despite Lowry admitting that it was uncomfortable at times, from Harrington’s vantage point, it was a smooth ascent to a first Major crown for Offaly’s favourite golfing son – not that Harrington felt calm himself.
“I was very stressed out and nervous watching that today,” Harrington confessed from the side of the 18th green having embraced his chipping contest partner upon a most famous win.
“The first hole was huge. If Tommy holes his putt he feels good about himself; if Shane misses his putt he feels bad but it doesn’t work like that.
“From there on he never put a foot wrong. He didn’t put himself under a lot of stress. There was no panic about his play, he did the right things at the right times to guarantee he had a six shot win and got to enjoy it walking up the last.
“Shane has a really strong game but extremely strong in those conditions.”
For Harrington, despite his obvious disappointment in missing out on the weekend action, it was an Open that had just about everything.
“This Open has been as good as any Open,” he added. “The icing on the cake was Shane winning.
“Every sporting event we host in this country, we get behind it and back it and that has been shown again this week. The crowds came out in numbers and clearly enjoyed themselves but in the best possible way.
“A lot of things happened this week that were a big boost to the event, Rory playing so well on Friday, Shane shooting his course record on Saturday.
“The buzz was there today in absolutely miserable weather. For Ireland as such a small place, that’s our 10th Major win. We just keep producing.”
Harrington’s generosity in hanging around to witness Lowry’s Major triumph wasn’t lost on Shane either, with the 32-year old all too aware of the influence Padraig’s had, and continues to have, on his soaring career.
“It was nice, very nice of Paddy and G-Mac to be standing on the back of the tee for me. And Gary Murphy was there as well, who is a good friend of mine and was great to me when I started out on Tour,” said Lowry.
“To be able to hang around with someone like Padraig Harrington who has paved the way for the success of Irish golfers. I’m just so happy I can add my name to the list of major champions.
“I used to curse them an awful lot in the past because that’s all anybody wanted to know about in Ireland because they were winning so many majors. ‘When are you going to win one?’ Winning regular events wasn’t good enough for anyone.
“We’re very lucky Irish golfers. People might say there’s not enough Irish golfers on Tour. But look at the standard of Irish golfers we have. Rory McIlroy is one of the best players in the world, if not the best on his day. And G-Mac I think is getting his stroke back. And the careers that Paddy and Darren and those guys have had is just incredible.”
With his first Major win following his Rolex Series victory earlier in the year in Abu Dhabi and his WGC win in 2015, Lowry is beginning to compile a CV fit to rival them all while he’s also confirmed that he’ll be skipping this coming week’s WGC in Memphis. Let the party begin!
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