Open Champion Shane Lowry has confirmed to Irish Golf Magazine he will return to the PGA Tour mid next month to play the opening three events in succession in what will be seven of nine events up to and including the first week in August.
Lowry and his young family chose to remain in the States at their Ballen Isles rented house in Palm Beach Gardens following the March 12th cancellation of the Players Championship and while it be a three-month absence from competition, their decision now seems to have been vindicated.
It will mean Lowry will not have to ‘self-isolate’ for two weeks had he been travelling from Ireland and back to the States.
Following the first three events, the Clara golfer will take a week’s break from competition, that being the week of July 2nd to 5th’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
The Offaly golfer will return for the July 9th to 12th John Deere Classic and then instead of the excitement and pride in teeing-up in what would be the week of the 149th Open, Lowry will tee-up in the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
It will then be a week off and two ‘big’ events in succession – the July 30th to August 2nd WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis and the following week’s ‘no spectators’ PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in suburban San Francisco.
And in a piece Lowry wrote for sponsor, Paddy Power, he spoke of looking forward to getting back to competition.
“Having a break from golf was good, but I just missed hitting a bucket of balls,” said Lowry.
“I didn’t play any golf for six weeks, so I’m itching to get back. It’s the longest I’ve ever gone without having a club in my hand.
“A few days into lockdown, I realised everything was going to shut down, and I bought a bit of gym equipment and set up a little gym in my garage.
“I’d go in there every day, have a FaceTime session with my trainer three times a week, and that was my little escape. Mentally it was good for me. I never thought I’d say it, but a gym was my getaway for a few weeks!”
What we don’t know is if Lowry will be reunited in Fort Worth with caddy Bo Martin though we do know it is going to be quite unique for all competitors heading to Texas.
“It’s going to be very different, though, there’s no doubt about it,” said Lowry. “There’s a lot of procedures – I’ve got a load of documentation about the protocols in place and what we have to do.
“The first thing I’ll have to do is take a Covid-19 test and it has to come back negative before I’m allowed to go to the tournament.
“When we’re there, we’ll all be cocooned in the same hotels and just follow all the protocols. I’ll be getting my temperature taken and tested quite a lot, so it’s going to take some getting used to.
“There’ll be constant testing and the PGA Tour has charter planes flying the players to the tournaments, from event to event.
“I was sort of struggling with staying motivated in the first few weeks of lockdown as nobody really knew when we’d be back.
“It’s hard as a sports person when you don’t have a date to aim at. It’s hard to get motivated and stay focussed because you don’t know when you’re going to be back.
“Even at the build-up to the Players’ Championship in Florida in March we were saying it should be alright, there’s no way they’ll cancel sport.
“Then it gets cancelled after the first round and, before we know it, we’re sitting in the house doing nothing.
“Then the U.S. Masters got cancelled, the US Open, and it was all looking pretty gloomy. Now, at least, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”