Shane Lowry described trying to get over the line for a maiden Major triumph at Royal Portrush as “the most unenjoyable weekend of your life” but he’s keen to do it all over again if it means more famous titles.
The importance of his victory at the 148th Open Championship – both for his career and those following him – was impossible to escape as the Clara golfer slayed the field at the Dunluce Links.
Even a victory margin of six strokes rarely felt comfortable for the Offaly man but evidently the juice was worth the squeeze with Lowry more motivated than ever to push on after his most famous success to date.
“It’s not a nice place to be,” he told the Guardian of trying to secure a Major. “It’s where you want to be as a golfer, I hope I’m in that situation again, but anyone telling you to go out and enjoy yourself…
“They are mad or don’t know what they are talking about. It’s the most unenjoyable weekend of your life! You realise the magnitude of the whole thing.”
Indeed, the significance of Major titles in golf will never be underestimated. For those collecting one of the big four for the first time, you’re almost a made man between consolidated status, exemptions and lucrative sponsorship deals – the longevity that comes with such victories is massive.
While for those doubling down, the multiple Major champions of the game, each win edges them ever closer to golfing immortality.
Lowry knew all about the consequence of winning a Major long before doing it at Royal Portrush and if ever there was victory to be found in defeat, the now 33-year old can point to what happened at the US Open at Oakmont in 2016 when he entered the final round with a four stroke lead hoping to earn golfing greatness before a final round 76 saw him usurped by Dustin Johnson.
“I’m not bigging myself up but in this game you are only ever one week away from greatness,” Lowry said.
“That’s why I took Oakmont so badly; when you are in that position and you let it slip, it’s so hard to take. If I hadn’t won at Portrush from that [starting] position on Sunday, I still wouldn’t be over it.
“Oakmont took longer than I realised, my form went really bad after what had been a good 12-18 months. I will probably always look back and think I should have won … but everyone has one of those.”
Lowry was a different animal when the chance came again at Royal Portrush last July. A four shot lead was stretched to six on that Sunday when the island of Ireland united in support for one of its own.
Now that’s he’s got over the line once, it’s far from a case of Lowry suddenly resting on his laurels. Rather, he’s out for more, driven and determined, and having proved himself capable, what’s stopping him becoming a multiple Major champion when golf gets the green light in 2020?
“I’m not happy to live off the Open,” Lowry added. “I’d love to win more. I feel very lucky and privileged to have done what I did, in that manner and where I did it. Genuinely, if it all ended today it would be decent but I’m a very driven and competitive person. I want to keep pushing on.”
Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!