While many of his peers continue to put a downer on Tokyo 2020, Shane Lowry has planned to make it in time for the opening ceremony
There are few things more reassuring than a Shane Lowry press conference. Just listening to him at Portrush entertain the media at the end of another breathtaking day was almost as good as watching him dismantle the Dunluce Links. No soundbites, no bluster, and the odd chuckle interrupting many of his thoughts. He’s quality from start to finish.
So just as the Olympic jungle drums begin to start banging, with this superstar or that showing their disinterest in the Games, Lowry is his usual lighthouse in the gloom with his thoughts on Tokyo.
“The thing is for me, being Irish, we don’t win many gold medals at the Olympics,” he explains. “So that’s one kind of goal that I have in my head, that I think it would be incredible to bring a gold medal back to Ireland. That’s kind of the way I’m going about it this year.”
It would take something else from one of his countrymen for Lowry to miss out and team up with Rory McIlroy underneath the Irish flag, so much so that the 32-year-old has already made his travel arrangements.
“It’s fully in my schedule this year. I’m not guaranteed on the team yet but it would take a really good season for someone to pass me. My flight’s booked. I’m due to fly out the Wednesday after the Open and go to the opening ceremony and hopefully play.”
Lowry missed Rio when he would have been eligible but, unlike the majority of his peers hiding behind the Zika virus, he actually had a pretty good reason.
“I got a bit of stick for that,” he says. “It was funny, we had just got married and we were trying for a baby. Honestly the day before I had to make my decision she found out she was pregnant. She was only five weeks pregnant at the time and we didn’t want to take any sort of chance at all. Now we’ve got a healthy and happy little girl. No Olympic medal can match that. It was a genuine excuse for me.”
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As for how the Games will blossom in the years to come Lowry had some optimistic words for those of us who would like to see the sport take off in front of a different audience.
“I do see it down the line being a big thing in golf. I think the Olympics will grow, and golf will grow in the Olympics, and I think in 20, 30 years’ time, I think it will be huge. It will be like a fifth major I think.”
“Does it mean more than the majors? Probably not. We have the four majors. We are very lucky. I play between 25 and 30 events every year but the other Olympic athletes, they are training for four years for one thing. So that’s not the way we go about our business. I never grew up dreaming of winning an Olympic gold medal but now it’s a reality. So it will be pretty cool to go out there and see what it like and hopefully come back with a medal for Ireland.”
Could you imagine the celebration if he pulled it off? Tokyo wouldn’t know what had hit it.