Shane Lowry: Snap happy fans recipe for Irish Open ‘carnage’

Shane Lowry reckons there will be “carnage” at Portstewart with the European Tour encouraging fans to use their phones to take pictures during play at this week’s $7m Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

New European Tour chief Keith Pelley has brought in a raft of innovations to spice up the Tour including “live” in-play interviews, music on the range and shorts on practice days.

Lowry is no fan of strutting his stuff to the latest rock anthem if he has a 7am tee time. And he’s certainly not looking forward to snap-happy fans.

Alarmed that the Tour will allow up to 25,000 fans to use their phones to take pictures during play this week, he said: “I think that’s ridiculous. There’s going to be carnage this week for myself and the other Irish guys. What a week to trial something like that! There’s going to be 25,000 people there.

“Trying to get 25,000 people to put their phone on silent... statistically, a certain percentage of people won’t. They’re going to use it anyway. There’s going to be carnage.”

The Tour will allow mobile phone photography in all areas of the course every day from Tuesday to Sunday, though “video capture” is restricted to non-competition areas due to TV rights.

While the Masters has a total ban on mobile phones, Lowry can’t see that policy ever being introduced by the European Tour. “You can’t because it’s too hard to do,” Lowry said. “I don’t know. I just think it’s a bit ridiculous this week. The Tour are all into this new stuff. I like some of it. But music on the range, I’m not a fan of much of it.

“Trying to warm-up at half six in the morning on the range and One Direction comes on, you’re thinking, ‘Ah come on, I’m only barely out of bed.’ “You’re trying to get your head right, you know what I mean?’”

Lowry doesn’t mind the live, on-course interviews with Sky Sports but believes most fans come for the golf, not marketing gimmicks.

He said: “Do they need to have music on the range at Wentworth? This week at the Irish Open, does anyone care they have music on the range?

“No one is going to go for the music on the range; they’ll still go for the golf.”

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