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Shane Lowry must turn over the Claret Jug this summer. He swears it’ll be intact (even though it was sent back to be straightened).


Shane Lowry swears he’ll return the Claret Jug intact.

The Champion Golfer of the (previous two) Years will turn over the oldest trophy in championship golf – it’s been given to the victor of the Open Championship since 1872 – the Monday forward of starting his title protection in the 149th Open at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent, England.

That leaves him seven weeks of possession earlier than the Open begins July 15.

“I’m going to be disappointed to be giving back the Claret Jug, but hopefully I’m only giving it back for a few days,” Lowry mentioned Tuesday in a Zoom convention with reporters. “I can assure you that it is in good shape and it will be coming back nice and shiny.”

The Irishman has had the Claret Jug for 22 months now after he received his lone main at Royal Portrush in Ireland in 2019 (the event was canceled final 12 months due to the international pandemic). Yes, all kinds of drinks have been consumed out of the Claret Jug, a lot of the grownup selection, however he hasn’t gone all gonzo with the 21-inch tall silver magnificence.

Still, in an airport throughout his travels, he did discover one thing was amiss.

“It has been sent back to be straightened once,” Lowry mentioned with a smile “I noticed on the airport scanner that it was a little bit of a bend in it. It’s not just me. I did talk to (2015 Open champion) Zach Johnson about this and he told me that he bent it, as well, so it’s not only me.”

With the Claret Jug in his custody, Lowry noticed firsthand how actually highly effective it is.

“I had the Claret Jug with me at the Race to Dubai at the end of 2019 and I was wheeling it through the hotel, and this guy was there, and he stopped me, and he’s like, ‘Is that the Claret Jug?’” Lowry mentioned. “And I was like, ‘Yeah,’ and we started to talk. Next thing, he begged me if he could see it, so I opened up the box and I showed him, and he held the Claret Jug and he started to cry because he was holding the Claret Jug. That’s what that trophy actually means to people that love their golf. Just to have it in my possession and being able to kind of share it with all my friends and family and other people has been just incredible.”

His lone expertise at Royal St George’s – the place Darren Clarke held off Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to win the Open in 2011 – was not unbelievable.

“I played the Amateur Championship in 2006 there and I shot 81 in the one round that I played around there, and I haven’t been back since,” Lowry mentioned. “I know it’s one of the trickiest venues we have, especially if you get a good UK summer. It’s so far south that it can get firm and fast and play like proper links golf. So it’ll be a great test. Just the whole experience of going there as defending champion, I’m really looking forward to it.”

As he performs his approach to the Open, one other piece of {hardware} is on his thoughts – the Ryder Cup. Presently, Lowry is simply outdoors the prime 9 in the standings who mechanically qualify for Team Europe. Captain Padraig Harrington will spherical out his workforce with three discretionary choices.

PGA Championship - Final Round

PGA Championship – Final Round

Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Shane Lowry of Ireland fist bump after Harrington performed his tee shot on the seventeenth gap throughout the ultimate spherical of the 2021 PGA Championship. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Lowry, a winner of two PGA Tour titles and three extra on the European Tour, did himself proud this previous Sunday when paired with Harrington in the ultimate spherical of the PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

Both Lowry and Harrington shot 69 to transfer right into a tie for fourth.

“It’s great to do it in the big tournaments. I feel like I’ve been doing that over the last couple of years, where I arrive at those big events and manage to kind of find some sort of an ‘A’ game or something towards my best game anyway,” mentioned Lowry, who’s ranked No. 44 in the world. “I play a lot of golf with Padraig anyway. But never do I get to play in that type of situation with him, so it was nice to kind of perform when you are kind of in the heat of the battle and out there on the back nine of a major championship.

“I’m in a good position now to go ahead and make the team this year. If I play good enough or play to the best of my ability over the next few months, I could make that team. That’s my main goal, to obviously go and make it. If I don’t make it, to be so close that I kind of make his decision for him, because even though the whole rookie thing will be talked about, that I’m a rookie, I don’t feel like a rookie.

“I’ve won big tournaments. I’ve competed at the highest level. I feel like I definitely will add to the team if I’m there. I feel like I can bring a lot to the team. It’s just up to me to put my best foot forward this summer.”

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