He had been here before. As recently as 2016 in fact, when he held a four-shot lead going into the final round of the US Open at Oakmont, but this was different, or so he claimed. Older, more mature and now the married father of a two-year-old daughter, life had indeed moved on outside the ropes but what about his golf game?
Shane Lowry survived alate-round wobble and some high-volume commentary from a giant TV screen to put himself in pole position at the halfway stage of The 148th Open as Rory McIlroy’s late charge to the make the cut came up agonisingly short.
This week’s 148th Open at Royal Portrush is officially the most attended Championship staged outside St Andrews with the R&A announcing on Wednesday that there will be a record-breaking crowd of 237,750 for the tournament starting on Thursday.
A group of distinguished, older members of Lahinch Golf Club assembled outside the clubhouse earlier in the week and looked around in awe at the transformation that had taken place at the Irish Open venue.
With the pressure of securing a starting spot in his hometown Open Championship later this month now lifted, Graeme McDowell is relishing the opportunity to free his mind and concentrate on the task at hand: a good week in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
It will not be in the nature of the tournament host to have slept easily last night on the eve of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open but his efforts to make this €6.2m European Tour event a success have already earned Paul McGinley the right to relax just a little.
On the walls of the contestants locker room at the 119th U.S. Open are a handful of quotes from past U.S. Open champions printed on sepia-toned poster board along with a black-and-white headshot of the winner and meant to inspire.