“I’ve known all along!”
That was Shane Lowry revealing he’s been aware of the best kept secret in golf for many months – that Rory McIlroy was to become a father.
Lowry was asked ahead of a maiden appearance later tonight (US time) in the Safeway Open if he knew the McIlroy’s were expecting their first child.
And being among McIlroy’s closest friends, and also a fellow Irishman, it came as no surprise when Lowry confirmed he had been aware of the news, but what baffled the Clara golfer was that McIlroy managed to keep the news quiet for so long.
There were rumours in the weeks leading-up to the birth of Poppy Kennedy on 30th August but attempts to confirm the rumours conveniently went unanswered.
“I’m very surprised that it didn’t get out quicker, to be honest,” said Lowry.
“Yeah, I’ve known all along (smiling).”
The fact both Lowry and McIlroy are now fathers, and each with a daughter, prompted Lowry to revisit the remarkable scenes at the 18th green at Royal Portrush in July last year, and the look on Lowry’s face when his wife, Wendy and young daughter, Iris made their way onto the presentation green.
It prompted Lowry to be quizzed what that moment felt like being the father to a young child.
Also, Lowry spoke of how McIlroy may also feel the day he hopefully wins a fifth Major and out onto the presentation green will walk wife, Erica, carrying new daughter, Poppy in her arms.
“I’ve always — I remember since we’ve had Iris, I just wanted to get my first tournament win when she was there and that’s what I’ve wanted to do, and I’m sure Rory’s going to be in the same boat,” said Lowry.
“It’s so nice to have your family there when you win a tournament. It literally is the best thing ever to be able to celebrate with them, your little girl to be able to run out onto the 18th green, that’s just — it doesn’t get any more special than that.
“And to do it — you know, I did it in Abu Dhabi last year and to do it at The Open was something special. Yeah, it’s something that Rory will want to do, so yeah.”
Lowry would normally be at home this time of the year but he’s elected to remain in the States to contest this week’s $US6m event and tee-up in next week’s U.S. Open at the famed Winged Foot club on New York’s Long Island.
Temperatures in the also famed Napa Valley are already well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit though the current World No. 28 cannot be tempted to savour a few glasses of ice-cold Sauvignon Blanc in the grape-growing capital in the U.S.
“I do like a glass of wine, but I don’t drink the week of tournaments, so I’m taking it easy, I’m relaxing,” he said smiling.
“My caddy and I went out for a nice meal the night before and we were out at the French Laundry restaurant last night, and that was very special.
“I’ll leave the drinking to Bo, my caddy and Bo will look after the wine for me this week.”
Lowry will tee-up in this opening event of 50 tournaments on the 2020/21 PGA Tour schedule in the company of fellow Open Champion, Phil Mickelson and double Safeway Open winner Brendan Steele.
The trio tee-up in the fourth group on the first day at 4.30pm (Irish time)
Seamus Power is among those in the first group with the West Waterford star out at 4pm (Irish time)
Jonathan Caldwell, Cormac Sharvin and Gavin Moynihan are in southern Portugal for the 14th edition of the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.
Caldwell is currently lying 127th on the Race to Dubai and naturally will be striving for a strong showing in the event won by fellow Irish Shane Lowry (2012) and Padraig Harrington (2016).
Sharvin, at 160th on the Race to Dubai, also needs top of the board finishes in the coming weeks.
It will be a first appearance in the event for Caldwell and Sharvin.
Moynihan has struggled of late missing the halfway cut in his last five events and in making his debut on The Algarve a year ago, he was forced to retire with an injury after just one round.
Jonathon Caldwell – 9.10am
Cormac Sharvin – 10.10am
Gavin Moynihan – 1.50m
Full scoring HERE