The world according to America is smaller than we think

John Craven

Shane Lowry (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

If Shane Lowry hits a shot in America and there’s no camera around to see it, does it really make a sound?

This notion has plagued my thoughts since the 72nd hole of Sunday’s WGC-Fed Ex St Jude Invitational where Shane Lowry salvaged a miracle up and down from 180-odd yards out after finding water off the last tee. Stiffed to just 20 inches, the clutch approach not only rescued a bogey-free round and a top-6 finish for Lowry, but saved my each-way stake on the ever-reliable Clara star…

… it’s just a shame we didn’t get to see it.


It’s something I’ve grown accustomed to trying to follow Irish talent on the PGA Tour in recent years. Sure, Rory McIlroy’s box office stature means he’s rarely off the air but for fellow Major Champions like Padraig Harrington and now Lowry, unless they are A) leading the tournament or B) streaking down the fairway with their club in their hand, there’s little intrigue in their whereabouts on any given Sunday, or any other day for that matter.

Of course, this isn’t an exclusively Irish issue, far from it. Rather, in my eyes at least, it stems from the fact that America is the centre of the universe and unless you’re representing the stars and stripes, you better be paying a pretty penny for the privilege to be seen.

Last week was a WORLD Golf Championship, yet the career achievements of the likes of Matt Fitzpatrick and Tom Lewis were seemingly dismissed when a graphic appeared displaying their career wins at a combined total of zero despite seven European Tour victories between them.

“Oh, that European Tour,” I hear Paul Azinger say from behind his annoying face. Yes Paul, that one, though I shouldn’t be surprised that the United States would overlook the merits of Europe, or anywhere else on the globe for that matter. Maybe it’s just the minority I encountered on my J1 in California but something tells me that for a lot of them – and this is the country that voted in The Donald after all – the world doesn’t exist outside the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I first encountered ‘Merica when entering the confines of the Wells Fargo bank in Huntington Beach with a duffle bag full of cash – 160 whole euros  – to be exchanged for dollar bills. The teller regrettably informed me that she could do no such thing. The value of my money had to meet the bank’s minimum amount worthy of exchange, the equivalent of 20 US dollars. I held my eight crisp twenty euro notes up to the light to make sure I wasn’t exchanging yen.

But that was small change compared to the couple I met by the pool at our motel in Scottsdale, Arizona. Beached on his lounger, more beetroot than bronze, he summoned me over with a flick of his stogy because there was no way he was getting to me.

“My son would love that shirt you’re wearing,” he told me. My tee shirt had become my last line of defence after running out of money for factor 50. “Can I get a picture?”

I stood there awkwardly as his wife took aim with the camera, making small talk as all good Irish folk do. He picked up on my accent and asked me where it was from.

“Dublin,” I said, to two blank faces. “Ireland,” I said, just to leave it beyond doubt. And then he hit me with it.

“Sorry kid, we’re not from around here.”

“From around here? Neither am I!! Ireland.. you know… Europe?”

“Europe,” he said, taking a long suck on his cigar. “I gotta check that out.”

This week, the winner of golf’s most recent Major enters TPC Harding Park with a live chance at the PGA Championship. I suggest the cameras check out some of Lowry’s wizardry. Not just because I’ve invested in his chances once more, but because the world needs to see this master at work.


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2 responses to “The world according to America is smaller than we think”

  1. Tom avatar

    My own US experience.
    My son got sick in New York. The doctor came and prescribed antibiotics. I went to the chemist. The chemist looked at my address – Dublin, Ireland. He asked “is that upstate New York”. I replied yes. The chemist was happy he had been proved right.

  2. Jo Maes avatar

    I was North Scottsdale once … Pinetop, middle of the mountains. In the bar a guy asked me where I was from … I said, Belgium, Europe … oh he said … is that past Payson?

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