Shane Lowry should be stepping onto the first tee at Royal St. George’s in Kent this morning as the defending Open Championship champion.
Instead, Lowry will have to wait a further 12 months before handing back the famed Claret Jug to the R&A.
And when he does, Lowry will become the third longest Open Champion to have retained golf’s most famous trophy.
Legendary Harry Vardon won the 1914 Open but due to WWI, the championship was not played again until 1920, a gap of six years.
In 1939, Richard Burton, an English golfer and not the Welsh-born actor, won the 74th Open and due to WWII, he kept the trophy to June 1946, a period of seven years.
Lowry was asked ahead of this week’s Jack Nicklaus Memorial event if he’d ever heard of the golfer, Richard Burton or noticed his name on the Claret Jug and also, is he comfortable knowing he will have to wait a further year before defending his Open title.
“Sorry, honestly I have never heard of a golfer named Richard Burton so I’m going to have to go home and look at that one,” said Lowry, smiling.
“As for The Open not being on this week, I wouldn’t say it’s hard to get my head around the fact that we’re not playing this week because, like I said, I don’t kind of dwell on things.
“Things happen. We’re certainly not in control of what’s happening in the world at the minute. We just kind of — we have to deal with the card we’re given.
“Clearly, I’d love to be in St. George’s this week defending. I’d love it if we were playing in front of 40,000 or 50,000 people this week in St. George’s. I’d love, like everybody in the world, if things were back to normal, but they’re not, and we kind of have to get on with that. So, I certainly don’t dwell on that.
“As regards holding onto the Claret Jug for another year, it’s not that it’s surreal because I don’t want to sound like I never thought I’d be able to do something like that.
“I just always feel very grateful that I got to do something like that and I got to hold the Claret Jug and I have it at home in my house. That’s just kind of the way I feel about the thing in general.”
Lowry confirmed his brother-in-law will caddy for him at this week’s whopping $US9.3m event.
His regular bag man, Brian Martin, who had caddied for Lowry in winning The Open at Royal Portrush, has been at home since the return to competition due to the birth of his child and before that, sadly his father’s passing.
He’s soon to return to work with Dubliner Darren Reynolds, who caddied for Lowry in Bo’s absence the past few weeks, now headed home.
IRISH TEE TIMES – Thursday (Irish time)
Shane Lowry – 18.06
Rory McIlroy – 18.17
Graeme McDowell – 19.01