Shane Lowry has always been one of more affable top golfers to work with. He’s always approachable, he’s honest, he always wears his heart on his sleeve, he gives you a good line and he’ll tell you sometimes when to ‘go take a long walk on a short pier’ if he’s not happy with you for something you may have written.
I guess that’s how it should be at what we call the cutting edge of golf reporting.
Take Lowry’s pre-PGA Championship presser early Wednesday morning local time at Southern Hills.
I attended the 2001 US Open at Southern Hills in Tulsa, but that was my only visit to the course so it was back on the Zoom link that has been kind of the norm for more than the past two years.
So, I’m on Lowry’s presser and I click on the button to ‘put my hand up’ so I can ask Lowry a question during his press conference. I wasn’t too sure what to ask and most of the time, I find it’s best to gauge the mood of the conference before jumping into the deep end with a question.
The PGA of America’s Julius Mason, and the most respected person that a golf journalist will deal with during the course of a season, was hosting the Thursday morning player conferences.
Lowry has mentioned Phil Mickelson two answers before in speaking of how Padraig Harrington and himself played well at last year’s PGA Championship and with Mickelson emerging the oldest ever to win a major championship, so I thought let’s go with the Mickelson angle.
Here’s how the next few minutes unfolded.
Q. Shane! You just mentioned Phil; what’s your reaction to him — we all know the reason why he’s not teeing up, but what’s your reaction to why he’s not present there as defending champion, which I guess is a real shame.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I think as you said, I think it’s a shame.
I think when you look at what Phil Mickelson has done in the game of golf, if you were to sit down at a table and start an argument about the greatest players of all time, his name would be in the hat.
I think it is sad to see him not here this week. Yeah, that’s kind of all I really have to say about it. It’s sad for — I suppose he’s obviously disappointed not to be here.
I think when it comes to it, the rest of us will just go about our business and just get on with it, but it is sad to see a great of the game not being here, especially after doing something like he did last year at the PGA.
Q. Julius is standing there beside you and is going to strangle me when he sees me, but I know you like a beer, and we all like a beer. What do you think of the beer prices there on course this week?
SHANE LOWRY: Cheers, Bernie. You’re full of great questions this week, aren’t you? Good thing you’re not here (laughing).
Q. I know (laughing)
SHANE LOWRY: It wouldn’t bother me. I’d probably still buy them (laughing).
Q. As I said, Julius is going to strangle me when he sees me for asking the question (laughing). So, the prices don’t bother you?
SHANE LOWRY: Bernie, you’re breaking up there (smiling). We can’t hear you. (Laughter.)
I must say the Zoom line was perfect, the pictures were perfect and Shane‘s get out line was brilliant”
Good luck this week, Shane. Your shout if you win.