British Open 2019: How Shane Lowry found perspective following 2016 major disaster

July 21, 2019

Shane Lowry has been in this position before. At the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, as a relatively unknown to American golf fans, the then 29-year-old Irishman held a four-stroke lead through 54 holes and was a round away from his first major title.

And then he shot 76. He tied for second, as Dustin Johnson won.

“The few days after the U.S. Open were quite tough,” Lowry told GOLF Magazine a few months later. “I had to keep myself busy, because anytime I was on my own I was thinking, ‘What if had done this or if this would have happened?’ I was driving myself mad.”

Fast forward three years later, and Lowry is in that position again. He began the final round of the 148th Open Championship with a four-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood and six-shot lead over J.B. Holmes. He’s also found some solace after that Oakmont disaster.

“Look, obviously I learned a lot that day,” Lowry said on Saturday night. “I learned a lot about myself at Oakmont. I’m going to learn a lot about myself tomorrow. Tomorrow is a huge day in my career. But I don’t think, how do I explain this? It probably doesn’t mean as much to me as it did then, which is going to make it a little bit easier.”

Lowry of course was taking no jabs at the significance of being a major champ of the Champion Golfer of the Year. He was just talking about perspective. He elaborated later.

“If I’m sitting here [in the winner’s press conference] this time tomorrow evening it will be like one of the biggest things that ever happened to me, there’s no denying that,” Lowry told the media on Saturday night. “But I just felt at the time in Oakmont my golf just meant a lot more to me back then, than it does now. I’m not saying that it doesn’t mean everything, it’s my career. But I’ve got certain things in my life that make it different. I’ve got family now. No matter what I shoot tomorrow my family will be waiting for me.”

Lowry has a close group with him this week, which includes his wife and young daughter. He married Wendy Honner in April 2016 and they now have a daughter, Iris.

Wendy and Iris met Lowry on the 18th green at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship back in January. He had a four-shot lead after 54 holes there, too, and he won by one.

“I said to my wife [before the final round in Abu Dhabi], just have her there waiting for me when I finish, because no matter what happens I’m going to be either standing there with the trophy or it’s going to be a disappointing day,” he said. “And it’s going to be the same thing tomorrow.”