Shane Lowry may have been at the centre of a whirlwind of celebrations and media attention since his Open Championship victory at Royal Portrush on Sunday but he is hoping his hard-earned status as Ireland’s newest major champion will not change him.
Lowry, 32, was already a multi-millionaire when he lifted the famous Claret Jug at the weekend following his six-stroke victory over Tommy Fleetwood but the success in so prestigious a championship as the Open Championship has given him a worldwide profile that will take some adjustment for the jubilant Offaly golfer.
The big question yesterday was, would it change him?
“I hope not,” Lowry said. “The next little while is going to be a little crazy, isn’t it? When all the dust settles, finally, in a month or two, I think I will be able to go back to doing what I normally do and just being me without having the label of major champion.
“I am always going to have the label of major champion — geez, it’s hard to actually believe I am saying it — but going around the city yesterday with TV cameras following you, it’s a bit weird.” Lowry was referring to the media coverage of his victory celebrations, which started in Portrush on Sunday evening and transferred that night back to Dublin.
They followed the rapturous reception he received from sell-out Irish crowds over the weekend as he shot a course-record 63 on Saturday to open a four-shot lead, and his final round, a masterclass in controlled shot-making and course management that separated him further from the chasing pack.
There were scenes not witnessed previously in a major championship as Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole! rang out around Royal Portrush and Lowry admitted the grin he wore almost constantly was a natural reaction to the support he was getting.
By the time he had sealed victory, the entire island of Ireland seemed to be rejoicing but Lowry said:
I haven’t actually seen the scale of it yet. I haven’t been on my phone a whole lot.
“I’d imagine everyone in the country was watching the golf on Sunday afternoon and willing me on to win. It is great to be able to win. For me, from where I am from, it is great to be able to bring so much joy to people. Irish people are great. They follow us in everything we do.
“If there’s a bandwagon, they will jump on it. It’s great and we always get great support off the Irish people.” None more so than from the people in hometown of Clara, where Lowry was set to be feted last night as the homecoming hero.
“I’m looking forward to going home and seeing the people that I want to see. Like, where I’m from there’s a couple of golf courses around, but whoever thought there’d be an Open champion going home to Clara?
“It’s incredible when you think about it. To see all my friends and see what it means to them…. Where I’m from is huge GAA and I’ve been lucky enough, albeit a long time ago, to watch Offaly win the All-Ireland.
“And to hear people from there tell me this is even more special is incredible, really.”