Reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry reckons the next six to seven years of his career are crucial.
The very affable Irishman took the golf world by storm in July, 2019, not only in capturing a maiden major championship by an impressive six shots but also providing a fairytale storyline 78-years after golf’s oldest major was first held on the Emerald isle.
Lowry endeared himself to sports fans the world over with scenes of his wife, Wendy and young daughter, Iris as he held aloft the famed Claret Jug. And now with the hopeful tee-off to the 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s less than three months away, Lowry has spoken of the importance of, what he calls ‘big tournaments’, in the coming years ahead.
“I love big tournaments, love the buzz around it, I feel like now, at 34, the next six, seven years are going to be crucial for my whole career and I feel that I need to do whatever I can now in that timeframe to get the best out of my whole career,” he said in speaking with RTE’s Greg Allen.
In speaking with Greg, Lowry looked back on the past two years.
“For me 2019 was a huge year; obviously I won the Open but I won twice that year, I’d never done that before, so it was the best year of my career by far.
“In contrast, 2020 was a serious letdown. I’m very driven, more so than I have ever been before. I really want to do a lot in this game and really feel I have got the ability to do a lot and hopefully to do it pretty soon.
“I love nothing more than to get messages from people back home, especially now in these awful times, that we are cheering people up by sitting in, watching me (contend) on a Sunday night.
“I’d like to have a couple of better finishes under my belt this season but if I look at my last run of tournaments – I’ve played seven out of eight weeks; I had a nice week at The Players Championship; I felt I was in contention at the Honda (Classic); I went to the Masters this year with a lot of confidence.
“I really feel I played good enough golf to have a chance on Saturday or Sunday so I was really disappointed coming away from a Major. I made a few mistakes here or there; overall I was happy with how I performed, disappointed (not to contend for a green jacket). Mentally I probably wasn’t there for the week but the rest of my game was there to really have a good week.
“I have never been one to talk myself up too much but I do feel good about my game at the minute and I do feel that if I keep doing what I am doing then I will reach my goals this year.”
After a superb final round 66 to share ninth in the recent RBC Heritage Classic, Lowry has another week off before returning to competition at the Wells Fargo Championship at Shoal Creek, Charlotte in North Carolina from May 6-9.
“I am only playing once between now and the PGA and hopefully I can go in there with a bit of confidence,” he added.
After that comes the Irish Open (hopefully) at Mount Juliet. Then, after two years as defending Open champion, he’ll finally get the opportunity to defend his crown at Royal St George’s.
“Hopefully there will be some sort of a crowd there and I will get the chance to defend an Open championship in a really great venue. I feel in a great place mentally and physically with my game.”