Brendan Lowry bravely managed to hold it together for 18 very long holes over the final day of The Open before finally breaking down at the back of the green in a flood of tears.
Lowry, in the company of a very close long-time friend, were inconspicuous to everyone as they walked inside the ropes for the final round of the 148th Open.
They wore dark maroon coloured ‘Greens Staff’ arms walking with the TV crews and the written media. Lowry had celebrated his 60th birthday 10-days earlier on July 11th and what a belated birthday gift it was unfolding on Sunday afternoon.
The All-Ireland legend was identified by this writer having met him many times out on Tour, but at the early stages of the round, it was just ‘hello, great to see you’ but there was no mention of victory.
Lowry kept his emotions intact as his son went after his boyhood dream. There was the punch of the fist when Lowry birdied the par-5 seventh hole to move to 18-under par and six shots clear of playing partner, Tommy Fleetwood.
As the final two holes neared, Lowry was advised that he would require a ’72-Hole’ armband – a must at any Open Championship to follow his son down 18.
I asked Brendan, in my role this past week as a member of the R&A’s media team, if he wanted to come down the 18th.
“No, I’d rather not,” he said.
“You have to,” I responded. “Look, I’ll walk you down the side of the 18th and you can join the family at the back of the 18th.”
Brendan agreed before stopping on the left side of the 18th to watch the final drive of his son, and a perfect drive it was.
As Lowry and Fleetwood made their way off the tee, I walked with Brendan to the back of the green and to the entrance of the player’s tunnel that leads to the scorer’s hut.
Lowry first fell straight into the arms of his son’s long-time Horizon Sports agent, Conor Ridge. The tears were flowing and it was the same when Lowry embraced his wife Wendy, his daughter Iris, Padraig Harrington and so many more.
Photographs were arranged on the presentation green and then the sight of the son handing the Claret Jug to his father, who raised both arms skywards holding the most famous trophy in all of golf in his left hand.
“There’s no comparison at all when your son does that,” he said.
“It was my birthday last Friday, I was 60 last Friday, that’s why he handed me the thing and said ‘Happy birthday Dad’.”
His father described the scenes as thousands of fans charged down the fairway to savour the moment as “mayhem” and “absolutely mental”.
“Padraig Harrington came in and he was like, ‘Would you all stop crying’. That’s what he said, everybody was crying,” he said.
“That’s what he dreamed about, like any young sportsman when they take it up, they dream of things like that.
“What about winning the Open in Ireland – you can’t dream it, and in Portrush, which he likes too.”
As his son fulfilled his media duties, the father’s mind was already turning to the celebrations.
“I’m going off to get a bottle of Heineken, that’s where I am going,” he said laughing. Looking at the videos that have since emerged from last night’s celebrations, it was most definitely more than one!
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