5.4 C
Dublin
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lowry insists Major importance won’t be lost without fans

Must read

Silence will be deafening at Saudi Ladies International

'If you’re a human – never mind a golfer – you’d want to check the batteries in your moral compass if a trip to Saudi is on your radar in the coming weeks and months'

Rising Pitch

It's not only membership at 9 and 18 hole courses that's bloomed this year, Pitch & Putt is on the rise too. Kevin Markham looks at the game’s shortest form*

Going the distance with the USGA

After the biggest hitter in the game won by six-strokes on a golf course that was supposed to punish missed fairways, maybe it's time the 'Distance Insight Report' moved to stage two?

The virus has simplified bunker play

The temporary rule introduced this year to help deal with the pandemic of banning rakes from bunkers has been revolutionary and positive for club golfers

It’s been nearly 400 days since well over 60,000 delirious fans cheered-on Shane Lowry to victory in last year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

Now Lowry reckons his game is in such great shape and he can become a repeat major champion with no spectators on site at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

If so, Lowry would become the first back-to-back winner of a Major since Jordan Spieth won both the 2015 Masters and the following 2015 U.S. Open.

“It’s funny, like I played with Dustin (Johnson) and Phil (Mickelson) Saturday last week in Memphis and late on a Saturday I’m thinking how well I’m doing in a WGC,” said Lowry.

“I can imagine if there were crowds it would have felt a little bit different. And even Sunday coming down the stretch, I sort of felt like I had a chance going out there Sunday, and to be honest, I did feel it a little bit different.

“I don’t know if it was as much as you normally would feel it, but I did feel the heat a little bit coming down the stretch on Sunday, which was nice, because I hadn’t been in the situation since we started playing without fans.

“This week, will the players that have a chance on the back nine on Sunday feel like they would do if there were 40,000 people here? Probably not as much as you might think, but I still think they’ll feel it a little bit. I still think there’s a whole lot up for grabs, and winning one of these things for certain players can be career-changing, life-changing.

“I think people will feel it. I know if I have a chance on Sunday, I’ll probably feel it a little bit, but it’ll be nice to be in that situation.”

In speaking of last week in Memphis, Lowry secured his best finish of T6th in the total of 10 events he’s contested on the PGA Tour’s 2019/20 wraparound schedule that began last September.

And if there was a standout shot of Lowry’s four days at TPC Southwind in Memphis it was his penultimate shot into the 72nd hole green, moments after sending his drive into the water down the right side of the last.

Lowry had 183-yards to the pin and put his shot to just 18-inches to save par to lock-in a share of sixth, a shot by the Open Champion that host broadcaster CBS has been lambasted in choosing not to cover.

That shot, Lowry says, called by caddy ‘Bo’ Martin, back on the bag for the first time since the lockdown, has added the real spring in his step heading into this week.

“It was interesting how it unfolded as I hit a bad tee shot, hit it in the water and I found a decent drop where I had 190 or 180 something to the hole, and I just tried to hit a good shot and hit it to a foot, which was nice,” said Lowry.

“But it was nice because I think if I’d have bogeyed that hole or doubled that hole to finish 12th or 15th or whatever, I would have been very disappointed coming off the week, instead of feeling like I played quite nicely last week.

“On Sunday last week I gave myself a lot of chances in the first 16 holes and I didn’t really convert any of them, and I felt like I could have been there or thereabouts when it came to who was going to win the tournament.

“I was very happy last week. It was my first week with Bo back on the bag, which was nice. It was nice to have a familiar face there. So yeah, it was good. I’m very happy with it.”

Lowry will play the opening two rounds in the company of defending champ, Brooks Koepka and current US Open winner, Gary Woodland.

And Koepka was full of compliments for Lowry, who had been a regular social round golfing partner during the ‘lockdown’.

“I like Shane.  He’s a funny guy. He’s a character,” said Koepka.

“I enjoy playing with Shane and I’ve played a lot with him at the Floridian during lockdown. It was fun. I enjoyed the competition, trying to battle into something for being off for three months.

“Shane is a good player. Drives it really well. He hits a tight little draw. Great short game, and he’s going to be right there come Sunday.”

Lowry appreciated the remarks saying: “It’s great Brooks saying that. It’s nice to be able to play with some of the best players in the world, and I was fortunate enough to be able to do that during lockdown.”

Lowry will be making his ninth PGA Championship appearance since his debut in 2010 at Whistling Straits.

The majors winning trio will tee-off on day one at 8.11am (local US time) or 4.11pm Irish from the 10th tee on the TPC Harding Park course located on the shoreline of Lake Merced, less than 10 miles south of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.

Lowry and Rory McIlroy are each out in the morning while Graeme McDowell, the third Irishman in the event, is contesting a 14th PGA Championship and finds himself out in the afternoon half of the draw.

LOWRY’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD

1ST Appearance – 2010 (Missed Cut)

No. of appearances – 8

Best finish – T8th (2019)

Lowest score – 64 (Round 2, 2018)

Highest score – 79 (Round 2, 2010)

McILROY’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD

1ST Appearance – 2010 (Missed Cut)

No. of appearances – 11

Best finish – 1st (2012 & 2014)

Lowest score – 66 (Round 4, 2012; Round 1, 2014)

Highest score – 75 (Round 2, 2012)

McDOWELL’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD 

1ST Appearance – 2004 (Missed Cut)

No. of appearances – 14

Best finish – T10th (2009)

Lowest score – 66 (Round 4, 2013)

Highest score – 78 (Round 2, 2011)

IRISH TEE TIMES – PGA CHAMPIONSHIP (Irish time)

4.11pm – Shane Lowry

4.33pm – Rory McIlroy

9.25pm – Graeme McDowell

 

New Gear

AXIS1 Tour HM putter now available across Europe

“Golfers struggling with consistency on the greens should look no further than the AXIS1 range of putters where they can take advantage of the incredible technology on offer"

Now on the Tee: Limited-Edition adidas ZX 8000 golf shoes

Adidas Golf is going back to the archives again announcing the availability of the first-ever ZX model built for golf – the limited-edition ZX 8000 golf shoe

Titleist introduces Scotty Cameron Inspired by Justin Thomas Putter

Scotty Cameron is celebrating the long-running success of Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas with the introduction of the new Inspired by Justin Thomas Phantom X5.5 putter

TaylorMade introduce #MyTaylorMade custom family into Ireland

The MyTaylorMade personalised product programme offers thousands of combinations to personalise some of the company’s latest putter and wedge offerings

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

McDowell trades Caribbean sauna for Scottish shivers

It’s been a rude shock weather-wise for former event champion Graeme McDowell heading into this week’s Scottish Open, but he's ready for the challenge

Silence will be deafening at Saudi Ladies International

'If you’re a human – never mind a golfer – you’d want to check the batteries in your moral compass if a trip to Saudi is on your radar in the coming weeks and months'

David Kearney announces end to long-time role with ILGU

After a near twenty year term with the ILGU, David Kearney will hand over the High Performance programme at the end of this year after a long sustained period of success

Harrington & GMac join strong field for Scottish Open

Padraig Harrington remains in the Tour’s bubble after making a u-turn on previous remarks that suggested any action after last week’s Irish Open would be a burden too far for the Dubliner

Bermuda Championship set to give green light to spectators

It would be a stretch to say we’re missing outbursts of ‘MASHED POTATOES’ with our golf coverage since the restart but the eventual return of fans will be otherwise most-welcomed