Shane Lowry, having comfortably converted the opportunity that came his way at the Open Championship, believes the sight of his name on leaderboards will draw a fresh level of respect now from the finest golfers.
Lowry’s six-shot success at Royal Portrush on Sunday appeared straightforward; he had started the final round with a four-stroke advantage. More than eight months have to pass until the next men’s major, the Masters, but Lowry naturally glanced forward when considering how opponents may treat him differently.
“That’s the way it is because people will know, if my name is on the leaderboard on Sunday in Augusta, that I can get the job done,” said the Irishman.
“I went out there on Saturday and shot one of the best rounds of my life [an eight-under-par 63], probably under the most pressure that I’ve ever felt in my whole life. It can’t help but give me confidence and hopefully I can put myself in position.
“The people around me probably had a little bit more belief in me than I did myself. But I go about my business the way I want to. I’m my own person and I do things the way I want to and, as long as I feel that’s the right thing, Ican turn up at an event and feel like I can beat anyone.
“I’ll give you a good example: in Canada a few weeks ago I think I played good enough to win the tournament but one of the best players in the world [Rory McIlroy] turned up and, when they show up, they’re unbelievably hard to beat.
“So I feel like I can beat anyone on any given day but, if they turn up with that game, they’re very hard to beat. But I’m obviously up there now. I’ve won a big tournament and, if I can’t gain confidence from this, I mean, what can you [gain it from]?”
Lowry readily admits he is the man for golf’s grand occasion. “I just have always loved playing in big tournaments. I sometimes find the smaller events harder to get up for,” he said. He admitted he would relish the opportunity to carry the Irish flag at another marquee event, the Tokyo Olympics, as now has to be a live possibility. “Hopefully I can bring a medal home,” he said.