Shane Lowry’s joy in being a member of the Ireland Olympic team speaks volumes about what it means to him to call himself an Olympian.
We’ve seen for two years how humbly and proudly Lowry carried himself as an Open Champion and now ahead of the start to the Men’s Olympic Golf competition early Thursday morning (Irish time), we’re learning the overwhelming joy he savours in pulling on the Irish colours.
Lowry will join Rory McIlroy and just 60 players teeing-up on the Kasumigaseki Country Club chasing the glory of winning an Olympic Gold medal.
“I feel like I can hopefully go out and contend for a medal this week,” said Lowry speaking on OTB AM.
“That’s my aim being here because I didn’t come here just to enjoy the experience.
“It would be pretty cool if I could play some good golf, get myself into contention and give everyone at home something to cheer about.”
And helping Lowry in his quest for Olympic glory is his fondness for the host course.
“The golf course is pretty good. It’s an excellent golf course, in excellent condition. It’s kind of got a lot of different holes and it’s not going to suit any one player”, he said in speaking to the Irish Examiner.
“So, yeah, the scoring is probably going to be quite low. Obviously, this week we’ve got three prizes up for grabs. It’s different to any other week where you would normally, no matter how good, bad or indifferent you’re doing, have something to play for.”
The Kasumigaseki Country Club being some 50-kilometres from the Olympic Village ruled out staying with the full Ireland Olympic Team but it hasn’t stopped Lowry ‘soaking-up’ the atmosphere and meeting as many of his fellow Irish Olympic team-mates as he could.
“It was pretty cool to go and see the Olympic village and it’s quite disappointing that we can’t stay there,” Lowry said also in speaking with the Irish Examiner.
“I think I’d enjoy staying there, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of being around the other athletes, especially all the Irish people.
“I got to meet quite a few of them and you see how much the Olympics means to other people, and what it means to the other athletes.
“Right now, to be here, it means a lot to me and it would mean a lot to me to bring a medal back to Ireland. That’s the main reason I’m here. Yes, I’m here to enjoy myself, but I’m here to work and I’m here to bring back a medal, and that’s the way I’ve looked at this week, that’s the way I’ve looked at it over the last few weeks and hopefully I can do that.”
The ‘individual’ format of the Olympic Golf competition means it’s all men and women for themselves in the four-round race for a medal, and really it is no different to the majority of weeks and months he is competing around the globe.
“Most weeks where I turn-up I feel like I can finish in the top-three anyway,” he said to OTB AM.
“I have my game plan ready for this golf course and I just need to execute it.”This is my first experience of this and it will be different but hopefully I can handle all of that and play good golf.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m out playing my friends at home for €5 or competing for a gold medal at the Olympics, I want to play my best and I’m a competitor at the end of the day.
“We’re here, we’re proud golfers and we want to do our best. Be it an Open Championship, a Masters or the Olympics, we want to go out and win the tournament.
“There will be a huge emphasis this week on trying to get off to a good start and putting yourself in the mix when it comes down to it and the end of the week on Sunday.
“This is a huge week for me and I would love to win a medal here. I’d give anything to bring a medal home to Clara… For my family, my town, my county and my country, I want to try and bring a medal back to everyone.
“Fingers crossed we can have a good week here and I can put myself in the mix and bring home a medal.”
Lowry will have his younger brother, Alan on the bag this week before Lowry is rejoined next week by regular caddy, ‘Bo’ Martin at the WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis.
“To have my brother here experiencing the whole thing with me is pretty cool and he does a great job,” Lowry said.
“Alan’s got a job though and he’s pretty happy doing that [so] he’s taken a week off this week to come and do it for me.”
IRISH TEE OLYMPIC GAME TEE TIMES (Irish time)
2.25am – Rory McIlroy (Alongside Colin Morikawa & Sunjae Im
2.36am – Shane Lowry (Alongside Patrick Reed & Tommy Fleetwood
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