December in Ireland and the promise of golf seems a distant land. But all is not quiet for Mallow’s James Sugrue, the British Amateur champion. The rewards from that amazing win keep on coming and this past month has taken him on a circuit of award ceremonies.
Of all the challenges Shane Lowry had to overcome in Portrush last week, none was more persistent or annoying than the American journalist who insisted on pestering the Irish golfer — and the others from the island — with questions about the symbolism of an Open Championship held in Northern Ireland.
Rory McIlroy has admitted he was more emotional and overwhelmed by the support he received at Portrush last week than missing the cut at the Open Championship. He said last night it was the first time he had to stop himself crying on a golf course.
People wonder how players keep their heads given the magnitude of what a prize like the Claret Jugre presents but it’s the madness of it all that overwhelms when the 18th approaches and the divide between those inside and outside the ropes begins to buckle under the waves of emotion.
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?
A day of golfing perfection from Shane Lowry took the Irishman to the verge of Open Championship victory at Royal Portrush but the 32-year-old is steeling himself for the most challenging day of his career tomorrow.
As your American-based golf correspondent, I’ve got a confession to make. I didn’t fancy my first pints of Guinness. In fact, I didn’t acquire a taste for it until my first trip to Ireland a little more than a decade ago and a visit to Temple Bar’s cobbled streets between the River Liffey and Dame Street in Dublin.