It’s not every morning that you wake up being the pride of a nation, but Shane Lowry did just that on Monday morning.
That’s because the 32-year-old Offaly native claimed a stunning six-shot victory at Royal Portrush on Sunday to become the 2019 Open champion, and he may be the most popular one of all-time.
Lowry, who is, ahem, our very own golf ambassador, held off the challenge of England’s Tommy Fleetwood to score his maiden major and we were lucky enough to grab him for a quick chat to see how he feels about his amazing achievement.
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) July 21, 2019
Paddy Power News (PPN): What does it feel like 24 hours on from becoming a Major winner and an Open Champion?
Shane Lowry (SL): I suppose I still can’t really believe it. I lay in bed this morning and I had the Claret Jug there and it was just an incredible feeling. It’s still a bit surreal, to be honest.
PPN: Hang on, did you have the Claret Jug in the bed with you?
SL: I did. We went to bed quite late last night and I had it on the bedside locker beside me. Wendy got up early this morning with Iris and I put the Jug in beside me. It’s outrageous. It is a dream come true. Obviously, it’s taken a lot more than luck to get me here, but I feel very lucky that it’s happened to me. To win it in Portrush was just even more special. The fact that it’s on the island of Ireland too. I mean what a weekend.
PPN: There’s been a massive outpouring of positivity from the entire nation. How do you feel about that?
SL: I haven’t been on my phone a whole lot over the last 24 hours. Over the coming days, I’ll probably have a better sense of what it’s actually been like, but I was speaking to a few people who were in Croke Park yesterday for example and they were telling me the scores were being announced over the system in Croke Park which is wild.
Anybody that knows me knows I’m the biggest GAA man you’ll find, so for that to happen is mad.
The general GAA people will be very happy for me I hope and the best thing about it is it gave me a great sense of pleasure that I can bring some much joy to the country. That’s the biggest thing for me.
PPN: Do you think it’ll give Offaly a little lift?
SL: It’s great for Offaly and where I’m from in Clara. I have all my close friends with me here today and I’m looking forward to getting down to my grannies house and giving her the Claret Jug. It’s just going to be so special. I never thought it would happen to me.
PPN: What did it mean to have Iris there?
SL: It was unbelievable to have your daughter there when you win, not just a tournament, but the Open. Selfishly speaking I wanted her there because if I had a bad day I know she would put a smile back on my face no matter what.
She was in the house this morning and she was trying to lift the trophy and she couldn’t because it was so heavy. We have her saying ‘Daddy win’ now so it’s amazing. It’s something we will look back on forever.
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 21, 2019
PPN: What was the most surreal moment?
SL: Walking down the 18th. It’s a moment I’ll never get back. I tried to take it all in and be as slow as I could but you just can’t. When you’re there waiting to be announced as the champion golfer of the year it’s so surreal.
PPN: How do you feel about the fact that you’re exempt from every Open Championship and all the other perks that come with being a Major winner?
SL: I haven’t thought about it, to be honest. I’ve had a lot of bad days over the years playing golf and I’m really going to enjoy this one. Good days like this are hard to come by. I’ve been playing the game for 10 years now. I’ve won five times. This is obviously the biggest yet. I plan to really enjoy it over the coming days.
When it comes to it, I’ve got the FedEx Cup in a few weeks. Hopefully, I’ll give them a run for their money there too and play well.
PPN: Will it be hard to get back to business after all the celebrations?
SL: I’m going to give myself a few days to enjoy it. I have a week to relax before I head to New York.
Going back to swinging a club again next week will probably come as a welcome break from everything else that’s going on. The last 24 hours have been a bit mad.
PPN: Obviously, Rory had a tough weekend. Was he in touch since?
SL: He was. I have a couple of hundred messages on my phone and I’ve only looked at a few because I want to sit down in a few days’ time and read them all and respond to each of them properly.
All the lads have been in touch, Darren, Rory, Padraic, Graeme. Paul Dunne was there last too. Anyone I’m close within the golfing circle has been in touch.
PPN: How do you feel about your prospects now in terms of the Ryder Cup?
SL: Obviously, I’m a long way from making the team now. The points only start in September so I need to play well for the next 12 months. That ultimately for me remains my main goal for the next 12 months to make that team. I’ll be very excited to be headed there with Paddy as captain if it happens. Hopefully, I can do it.
PPN: What was Bo’s impact on your game yesterday? Was there any key moment that you felt having him there made a very real difference to how you handled things?
SL: Ah, Bo was brilliant. I said to him on the 12th, I’d three-putted 11 to go back to four ahead – you’re four ahead in The Open with four to play, you’re in the driving seat and the tournament is yours – but I just felt like I was getting ahead of myself. I was seeing myself on the 18th green with the trophy. I said to him I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It took him until about the 14th tee to get me to where I needed to be for those last five holes. Walking down 14 he said “let’s just go for level par and see where it leaves us”, and that’s what I did.
PPN: When did you allow yourself to believe the dream was about to become a reality?
SL: I holed a putt on 15 to go six ahead with three to play. I thought at that point, either way, I’m going to make history here; it’s going one way or the other. It’s either going to be the biggest mess-up of all time or I’m gonna win.
But when I hit my tee shot on 17, which is one you can lose a ball on, I figured that’s me done. I could walk down there and enjoy the moment.