Shane Lowry finding a positive spin from life on lockdown

Shane Lowry finding a positive spin from life on lockdown
Shane Lowry. Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Shane Lowry has not hit a golf ball in close to five weeks but the Open champion believes he would be just fine if the PGA Tour were to come out of lockdown in the morning.

The 33-year-old from Clara, Co. Offaly, is seeing out the Covid-19 pandemic with wife Wendy and daughter Iris in their rented house in Palm Beach, Florida, having chosen to stay in the United States due to the PGA Tour’s plan to resume competition without spectators in June.

Although he has not been able to practice since golf courses were shut down in his locality, Lowry does not believe he will be at a disadvantage to competitors with private facilities if play does resume as scheduled at Colonial Country Club in Texas at the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11.

“I actually think it would (suit),” Lowry, a Paddy Power ambassador, said during a live broadcast via the firm’s official Instagram page last Friday. “I think I’ll be fine if a tournament started tomorrow and nobody had any practice. Some lads would have had practice, but I think I would be fine.

“The golf courses are still closed here. There are rumours they are going to open next week, on May 1. So hopefully that happens and I can get back playing. I haven’t hit a ball in about four and a half weeks now, so it will be interesting when we get back.

We are just trying to pass the time as much as we can. We could get home (to Ireland) but the PGA Tour are talking about starting in June, but I think if we came home we might not be able to get back. So that’s why we are staying here for the foreseeable future.

In a golfing calendar turned upside down by the novel coronavirus, one of the few certainties for Lowry will be not being able to defend the Claret Jug he won in glorious fashion at Royal Portrush last July until 2021 following the postponement of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s. He told viewers the famous trophy is being kept in a safe place.

“With it cancelled for this year it means I’m going to have the Claret Jug for two years. I have it out in Iris’s bedroom, it just ended up in there. I do most of my video calls in there and it’s just ended up in there. I’m going to have it for two years. I’d love to have had it for two years properly but it is what it is and we just have to deal with it and get on with it.”

As it stands, the three American majors on the schedule are still in place for 2020 with the Masters moved from April to November, the PGA Championship from May to August and US Open from June to September, though. Yet Lowry would settle for a round of social golf right now.

“I can’t wait until I’m playing nine holes on my own. So whether it be the Masters or any regular event, I don’t really care, I just want to go out and play golf.” For now, the world number 20 must settle for staying fit. He took the precaution of shopping for gym equipment in advance of the lockdown and that is now being put to good use with the online assistance of fitness coach Robbie Cannon.

“I went out six week ago just after The Players got cancelled, went down to a local sports shop and bought some gym equipment and have it in the garage. Three times a week I FaceTime my trainer Robbie, but he sends me on other stuff to do on other days. I have a Peloton bike, which is becoming quite a craze over here, it’s like an online spin class and it’s pretty good”

Lowry is well aware that the public perception of him is not that of a dedicated gym rat but he insisted spinning was one of his strong suits.

“I’m okay at it actually, because I’ve strong legs. I’d be strong enough, like, people underestimate what I would actually do. I’d be well able to hold my own.”

As for arm wrestling, though... “I wouldn’t do very well in that, Brooks (Koepka) would win that one. I wouldn’t be doing bicep curls to make myself look good in my t-shirt like those lads would do! I never thought I’d say that my gym is my getaway. I get down there for an hour and a half or so every day and enjoy it.”

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