What Open Champion Shane Lowry said after his first major victory at Royal Portrush
Shane Lowry was full of elation as he celebrated winning his first major championship at Royal Portrush – and it’s hard to believe he was the same man who cried in the car park at Carnoustie about the state of his golf game just twelve months ago.
Lowry, who admitted he wasn’t even sure he was good enough to ever be a major champion before he claimed the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush, creditted his caddie, his coach and the support of the home fans during his press conference on Sunday.
Read on below to find out what Lowry said after being crowned the 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year.
On what it feels like to win the Open
It’s everything I ever wanted in the game of golf.
I’m feeling unbelievably calm, to be honest. I don’t know why. It’s not going to sink in for a couple of days, is it? It’s just incredible to be sitting here with a trophy in front of me. Look at the names on it. I couldn’t believe that it was me. I couldn’t believe it was happening.
I thought about it all day but I didn’t really let myself think about it until I hit my tee shot on 17. As soon as I hit that tee shot I knew that I couldn’t really lose a ball from there, and that’s how I felt. So it’s an incredible feeling
On being good enough to win a major
I suppose I didn’t even know going out this morning if I was good enough to win a major. I knew I was able to put a few days together. I knew I was able to play the golf course. I just went out there and tried to give my best. And look, I’m here now, a major champion. I can’t believe I’m saying it, to be honest.
I think the people around me really believed that I could, which helped me an awful lot. I do remember a lot of times in the past when I’m down on myself and serious chats with Neil, he always reminded me, he always said that I was going to win one, at least one, he said. So I suppose when the people around you really believe in you, it helps you an awful lot.
On the walk down 18…
It was just incredible to walk down 18. The crowd is going wild. Singing “Ole, Ole, Ole.” I just couldn’t believe it was happening to me. And to have like — it was nice, very nice of Paddy and G-Mac to be standing on the back of the tee for me. And Gary Murphy was there as well, who is a good friend of mine and was great to me when I started out on Tour.
And obviously to have all my friends and family. I spotted my family when I walked around the corner to have a look where the flag was, and I spotted them all at the back of the green. To be honest, I welled up a little bit and Bo told me to catch a hold of myself, I still have to hit a shot. Thankfully I hit a decent shot in there and two-putted.
To be honest, like, I walked down there and I tried to soak it in as much as I could. It was hard to soak it in because it’s very surreal. It’s a very surreal experience going down there.
On the crowds and home support
Oh, my God. It was amazing. It’s hard to believe. It’s just hard to believe. I think a lot of people from where I’m from, I spotted a few people in the crowd, and I think a lot of people made the last-minute journey up here this morning because I was leading. And it was just — it was great out there today.
It’s funny, I sometimes struggle to play in front of the home crowd and have done in the past, but not over the last few days. I played lovely. It’s obviously very nice.
On Royal Portrush as an Open venue
This is my 8th Open Championship, it was the best one I’ve ever played in. The way it was ran, the golf course, everybody was raving about the golf course, how good it was. So I’d be very surprised if it’s not back here in the next ten years.
On the difference a year can make after MC at Carnoustie…
Carnoustie, look, that just shows how fickle golf is. Golf is a weird sport and you never know what’s around the corner. That’s why you need to remind yourself, and you need other people there to remind you. You need to fight through the bad times.
I sat in the car park in Carnoustie on Thursday, almost a year ago right to this week, and I cried. Golf wasn’t my friend at the time. It was something that become very stressful and it was weighing on me and I just didn’t like doing it. And, look, 12 — what a difference a year makes, I suppose.
On the influence of his caddie…
Bo has been incredible the last year. He started caddying for me about September last year, and just when I started to play well again. So he’s just, like, he’s brought a new lease on life to me. He is so thrilled.
He was unbelievable today. He kept on my back all day, kept talking to me, he kept in my ear. I kept on telling him how nervous I was, how scared I was, how much I didn’t want to mess it up, how that I can’t — all I could think about was walking down 18 with a four- or five-shot lead. And lucky I got to do that.
But, yeah, he was great at keeping me in the moment today. He’s been great for me. Like I said, you see my results since then have been good.
Obviously we formed a great relationship and it was amazing for him today. They had a baby two weeks ago and his wife drove up today, and his little boy was here. It was amazing. I’ve known Bo a long time. He’s now become a very good friend of mine. And to be able to share it with someone so close was very special, yeah.
On how his experience at Oakmont helped…
I think I knew that I had to fight to the bitter end today, and that’s what helped me. And that’s where I struggled in Oakmont. I always said after Oakmont, if I could have got the last four holes back, I’d give anything to be standing on the 14th fairway again.
I knew today that I was going to have to fight to the very end, and I did. I didn’t let myself — I let myself think about it on 17, enjoy it. But you’re still hitting shots. Links golf, bunkers, rough, all sorts can happen out there. I let myself really, really enjoy it going down 18. But before that I was really just fighting until the end.
On when he felt settled on Sunday…
I had a nice healthy lead going out and I hit a ropy tee shot on the first. I hit actually a decent second shot but it didn’t go as far as I thought it was going to go. I actually hit a lovely shot.
Then you’re standing on the first green, Tommy has a great chance of birdie and I’m putting for bogey from eight feet. There’s a potential three-shot swing. He misses, I make, and there’s only one shot. That settled me an awful lot.
Then when I had it kind of around the turn, I had a look at a few leaderboards, and it was so hard out there. When that big shower came in on the 8, the 9 tee shot was just like put the ball down and hope for the best because it was incredible, the rain that was coming down.
Then I think when I started to feel comfortable was after 14. I had a lovely one on 13. Tommy had missed the green and I hit a bad tee shot there. It was a silly bad tee shot. It was an easy 9-iron downwind, should be hitting the green with that. To get that opening that was huge.
To be honest, I played the last five holes, I thought I played — even though I bogeyed 14, I thought I played the last five holes incredibly well. And I felt incredibly good. I felt like I was going to do it, especially after 14 when Tommy went double, I went bogey. But I went 5 ahead with four to play.
On the chat he had with his coach on Wednesday after a bad practice…
I think it changed a lot because I was quite nervous and anxious Wednesday evening and we went for that chat. You come up here, and I suppose the other lads would have had it as well, G-Mac and the lads. The last thing you want to do is come up here and miss the cut. That’s the last thing you want to do. And that was kind of in my mind.
I wanted to play at least four days, and wanted to put up a good show for myself. Being in home. I was showing good form over the last while.
So, yeah, it really settled me down. I said after that — well, I left the Bushmills Inn the other night and I really felt like I could go out and perform to the best of my ability the next day. So it obviously helped me an awful lot along the way.
On having his daughter by the 18th green
That means everything, doesn’t it? We have one from Abu Dhabi this year, and we’re going to have another one. My wife knew no matter what to have her there waiting for me because if things didn’t go to plan, at least she would have consoled me a little bit. To have her there, winning, obviously it’s very special.
Look, I’m going to be coming back on another 27 Opens to play (laughter). She’s going to be nearly 30 when I play my last one. That’s going to be nice.
On his goals now, which remain to make the Ryder Cup team…
My big goal still remains the same and that is to be on the plane going to Whistling Straits next year. That’s my plan for the next 12 months. Hopefully that involves a couple of wins along the way.
This is huge for me. Obviously a major championship and my first season winning twice. I have a lot to play for now. I’m well up there in the FedExCup now, which is nice. And I’m well up with the rest of the boys. So I’ve got a busy few months ahead of me and I’m very excited.