Shane Lowry admits there’s been many a drink slugged from the famous Claret Jug he claimed as his own at Royal Portrush in 2019 but if he’s to have it his way this summer, there’ll be many more sessions to come with his prized piece of silver.
The reigning Open Champion will have had his trophy for two years by the time his defence rolls around at Royal St. George’s and although he says he’ll be disappointed to hand it back at the start of tournament week, Lowry has no intention of being parted from his famous drinking utensil for too long.
“It’s obviously going to be a new experience for me because I’ve never got to defend a major championship before, and it’s going to be really exciting,” Lowry said at the launch of the 149th Open.
“I’m going to be disappointed to be giving back the Claret Jug, but hopefully I’m only giving it back for a few days. I can assure you that it is in good shape and it will be coming back nice and shiny. But yeah, I’m looking forward to getting there. It feels like it’s a long time since Portrush and everyone is just looking forward to going back and playing The Open Championship again, because as we all know it’s, in my opinion, one of our greatest championships, if not the greatest. So just to get back there and play that will be great.”
Lowry says his trophy will be returned shiny and new but there were some dicey moments with one of the world’s most famous pieces of silver along the journey of his near two-year reign. Yet for all the drinks spilled and guzzled from the iconic cup, it was the tears that spilled from an overwhelmed fan that truly hit home the significance of Lowry’s achievements in 2019 on the Dunluce Links.
“Look, we had an amazing time with it,” he smiled. “It’s funny, right, I did put a few drinks in it but not that much. We filled it a couple of times afterwards, and then we actually had a nice dinner with all my team that Christmas and we drank some nice wine out of it.
“But when you have the Claret Jug with you and somebody that’s really interested in golf or somebody that really loves their golf, when you show them that piece of silverware — there’s one story I remember…
“I had the Claret Jug with me at the Race to Dubai at the end of 2019 and I was wheeling it through the hotel, and this guy was there and he stopped me, and he’s like, ‘is that the Claret Jug?’ And I was like, ‘yeah,’ and we started to talk. Next thing, he begged me could he see it, so I opened up the box and I showed him and he held the Claret Jug and he started to cry because he was holding the Claret Jug.
“That’s what that trophy actually means to people that love their golf. Just to have it in my possession for that length of time and being able to kind of share it with all my friends and family and other people has been just incredible. Obviously I’ve got my replica now as well and I’ll have that forevermore, but it’ll be a sad time giving it back. But hopefully I get it back at some stage, whether it be St George’s this year or maybe another time down the road.”
But be honest Shane… did you ever ding it like a fan at Kiawah Island would ding Brooks Koepka’s knee?
“It has been sent back to be straightened once, yes,” Lowry laughed guiltily. “We actually noticed going through the airport, and I noticed on the airport scanner that there was a little bit of a bend in it. It’s not just me. I did talk to Zach Johnson about this and he told me that he bent it, as well, so it’s not only me.”
R&A Chief Martin Slumbers who was also on the call confirmed that it’s definitely not just Lowry that’s guilty of beating up the old silver jug.
“I’ll give you an add-on to that,” Slumbers said. “When Zach returned the trophy he said, I have to apologise. He said he did have to take it to be repaired. But as I took it into the shop in Florida, maybe near where you live, the silversmith who was behind the counter said, ‘Oh, I’ve seen this twice before!'”
Let’s hope Lowry will have plenty more opportunities to create some stories with golf’s most magical piece of silver.