2019 Champion Golfer Shane Lowry admits he’s licking his lips at the prospect of July’s 150th Open, declaring that for him, The Open at St Andrews is the “most special tournament in the world”.
In June 2010, a year after winning his national open as an amateur, Lowry breezed through qualifying for his first Major championship with a scintillating 62 at Sunningdale in a score that equalled Nick Faldo’s course record.
A dozen years ago now, Lowry’s reward was a maiden Major at the Home of Golf where he played all four rounds at St Andrews and eventually finished in a tie for 37th place at one-under par.
That year Lowry finished 15 shots behind a runaway winner in Louis Oosthuizen and although the Clara star has since gone on to capture his first Claret Jug back on home soil in Portrush in 2019, even with that experience in the bank in front of adoring Irish crowds, Lowry admits that no tournament experience can compare to St Andrews.
“St Andrews itself is such an amazing place, the town, just everything about it,” Lowry told The Open.
“I feel very fortunate that it was my first one. We play a lot of big tournaments around the world and The Open venues that we go to are all really special but for me, the best and most special tournament in the world is The Open at St Andrews.
“When you get announced on that first tee at St Andrews, whether it’s the Dunhill or a practice round, it’s just special. And it’s probably one of the only courses in the world where I go to and I actually really enjoy playing my practice rounds.
“I can only imagine what the R&A have planned for the 150th. It’s going to be really special anyway but the fact that it’s the 150th is pretty cool.”
Like the rest of us, Lowry is a kid at heart when it comes to the Open Championship having grown up watching the tournament on the BBC each year before heading off to Esker Hills where he’d imagine holing the winning putt on the local greens.
“Growing up I lived two doors away from my cousin and he was a few years older than me but we were both obsessed with golf and we were both obsessed with Tiger Woods,” he smiled.
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“I always remember watching The Open as a kid and it was just on all day. I obviously remember Tiger at St Andrews but one that sticks out is Tiger at Hoylake where he barely hit a driver for the whole week.
“Obviously Paddy’s [Harrington’s] two as well in ‘07 and ‘08 [stick out] and I think the trophy really makes it for me. The Claret Jug is just such an amazing piece of history and such and amazing trophy. If you like golf, you should come and experience an Open Championship, the magnitude of the grandstands and the hospitality and everything about it – it’s the biggest and the best for me.”
“I’ll be forever grateful that I got to achieve something like that. The fact that my name is on that trophy and when you look at it, it will never be taken away. That’s pretty cool.”