Players Advisory Committee member Shane Lowry has broken his Canadian Open ‘No comment’ silence to speak of the still shock news in men’s pro golf, and his call for ‘chill’ when addressing last week’s hastily-arranged players meeting in Toronto.
Lowry who is among five Irish teeing-up in tomorrow’s commencing U.S. Open, was approached last Friday by a PGA Tour media officer for comments following his second round.
However, his response was: ‘Tell the guys, I’ll speak with them next week in L.A.”
And true to his word, Lowry did speak to the media following a Tuesday practice round at the L.A. Country Club, firstly addressing his understandable ‘quietness’ last week in Toronto, but then revealing he addressed last week’s meeting calling for those present who seemed to be sounding strike action to ‘chill’.
He then shared his disappointment among those fellow Tour players that for a second year running long-time Canadian Open sponsor RBC was suffering in terms of coverage’, firstly last year with the opening LIV event outside of London and now news of the merger, with each news story coming in the week of the Canadian Open.
“I stayed quiet enough last week, I didn’t do much media or I didn’t do any media because I actually have no answers to any questions because I just don’t know,” said Lowry speaking to RTE.
“And yeah, I did speak (at the meeting). It was brief. Obviously tensions were a little bit high, they’re not really high but a couple of lads started talking about ‘what if we didn’t play this week’.
“And I was like, ‘Right lads, let’s take a chill for a minute here. RBC have been a great sponsor to the Tour and are great to us, and they put on two great tournaments, so that’s not going to do anything for anybody doing that, so let’s just go out and do our jobs which is what we’re all here to do, and everything else will take care of itself’”.
However, like everyone (apart from just a handful) Lowry is no wiser as to what will be the bigger picture following news of a merger and now, more recently, moves afoot for a U.S. Senate investigation into the coming together of the Saudi-owned PIF fund and the DP World and PGA Tours.
“I just don’t know anymore, I guess we don’t really know what’s going on,” Lowry said.
“We have no information. We have no idea what deal the PGA Tour have signed up for so we just don’t know.
“I’ve said this all along, but it’s the only thing you can do as a golfer, is worry about yourself and try to play good golf and the rest will take care of itself”.
Lowry, as well, felt for Rory McIlroy, and the position he found himself in, and not finding out about the ‘merger’ news until just a few hours before it was all over social media.
“I do feel for the top, top guys that have been involved in the whole thing,” said Lowry.
“Like, I’ve obviously been there among the pack and I’ve been involved in a lot of meetings and stuff over the last number of months but the guys who have to go out and sit in front of the world’s media and explain stuff that they don’t really know much about, I do feel for them.
“There’s so much unknown and I think if you ask anybody in the industry or business that they’re involved in, if there’s an unknown it does give you a bit of ‘wow, what’s going to happen?‘
“But that’s all it is right now, it’s unknown. I think in the coming weeks, us as players will have more information and we will be able to talk more about it then. But for now, we just don’t know.
Lowry is teeing-up in suburban Beverly Hills in a 42nd major championship since his majors debut in the 2010 Open Championship, and his 11th U.S. Open since teeing-up firstly in the 2011 U.S. Open but missing the cut in the year Rory McIlroy blitzed the field at Congressional.
Lowry’s best showing in a U.S. Open was in 2016 at Oakmont where he led by four shots heading into the last round but losing out to American Dustin Johnson.
And with all the distractions taking place off-course, Lowry’s hoping to be able to put is all aside and get on with the task of capturing a second major.
“Look at everything that has gone on in the last year, people talk about what’s going to happen when the LIV players rock up to majors and are playing against PGA Tour players…we’ve seen all along that it’s just another golf tournament, another major, and we’re all just here to try and do our best,” he said.
“The way I look at it is, on weeks like this, if I put myself within touching distance of the leaders on Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning going into the final round, that would be a somewhat successful week for me.
“My thing is to get myself into contention, if I can do that, I feel I have what it takes to do it.
“Oftentimes, in tournaments like this, the hardest part is actually getting yourself there.”
Lowry will lead out the five Irish in the field in the 123rd US Open, teeing-off at 3.40pm (Irish time) in the company of Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood.