Who remembers that Shane Lowry played the opening two rounds in last year’s US Open in the company of eventual champion, Gary Woodland?
And more recently, can you remember who finished higher up the leaderboard, Lowry or Woodland, when they were grouped just a few weeks back on day three of the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village?
* Check your knowledge at end of story
Slightly lost in PGA Championship conversation this week as Lowry looks to be a first to win back-to-back majors in five years and Brooks Koepka tackles the three-peat is the fact Woodland, with all three in the same group for two days, is just as determined to become the holder of two majors.
PGA Championship organisers, as is customary, have grouped three of the four major winners of season 2019 together in the first major championship to take place in some 13-months since Lowry brilliantly won at Royal Portrush.
All three seem to get on very well with Koepka on Tuesday being asked about his relationship with Lowry before, on the eve of the 102nd staging of the PGA Championship, IrishGolferMagazine asked Woodland what he thought of Lowry’s victory just a month after Woodland had triumphed at Pebble Beach.
“Shane winning in front of his home fans was probably like me winning in Kansas,” said Woodland.
“Shane is one of the best guys we have out here. I actually played with him at the U.S. Open the first two rounds.
“I get good vibes playing with Shane again. We played together a couple weeks ago at the Workday Charity Open in Columbus. But Shane is a great guy. He obviously drives the golf ball amazing.
“From that part — Brooks and I have very similar games. We seem to play, I would say, golf courses kind of suit us the same. It will be nice playing with Brooks. Ricky Elliott is on his bag. I’ve known Ricky for a long time being around Lake Nona.
“It’s a great grouping for me. You’ve got a bunch of great guys who are out there who have obviously played successful in major championships in the last year, and for Brooks I guess for the last couple years he’s won a bunch.
“It should be a great week. We’re all out there — you’d be able to talk a little bit, I guess, with Shane and Brooks. You’ve got a lot in common to talk about.
But for the most part we’re out there taking care of our own business and trying to win a major championship.
“Shane is a great guy, and what he did last year at home was, like I said, it would be like me winning in Kansas. That was very special, and I think that was a very popular win out here on Tour.”
If Woodland were to win this coming week, he would join Koepka also as a winner of both the US Open and the Rodman Wanamaker trophy.
And it comes as no surprise that for a player whose best result in a major prior to June last year was T6th in the 2018 PGA Championship, Woodland says he’s grown in confidence so much since winning at the game’s highest level.
“I saw the results obviously very quickly after working with Pete Cowan on short game and Phil Kenyon on putting; you break through and have some top 10s and win a major championship, that’s a big deal, knowing that, like I said, I don’t have to be perfect,” he said.
“I know I can contend and I know I can win. That’s a huge relief. Definitely helps you sleep better at night, and you definitely show up at the golf course in a better mood; that I don’t have to be perfect today and still come out and my stuff is good enough to win.”
Okay back to my original questions in this article.
Yes, Lowry and Woodland, along with Tyrrell Hatton, were out together on the first two days of the 2019 US Open. Woodland set about a maiden major with scores of 68 & 65 while Lowry was left behind with rounds of 75 & 69.
And as Woodland remarked, he and Lowry were grouped for the third round of the Workday Charity Open teeing-off at three-under par.
Woodland also left Lowry behind shooting a 66 to the Irishman’s 74 with the American eventually finishing with a share of 5th place and Lowry tied in 39th place.
Time now for Lowry to turn the tables this week in San Francisco.
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