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Selfish thoughts fall away as Shane Lowry attempts to fill his days

In a week where Shane Lowry ought to have been competing at the Masters in Augusta, the 2019 Open...

Selfish thoughts fall away as...

Selfish thoughts fall away as Shane Lowry attempts to fill his days

In a week where Shane Lowry ought to have been competing at the Masters in Augusta, the 2019 Open champion spoke to Off The Ball from his temporary Florida home instead. 

If last year's triumph in Portrush had been the best of summers for Shane Lowry, it was in the months ahead where he planned to revel in that success just a little bit longer.

Putting the bigger, inescapable and undeniably more important picture to one side, he doesn't mind admitting that missing out on it has bothered him.

"I think I was most disappointed mostly because I really feel like I was starting to play some decent golf," he explained to Off The Ball of his initial reaction to the impact Covid-19 had on professional sport, "and I was coming up to some tournaments that suited my game.

"Obviously, the Masters was supposed to be this week and I was looking forward to that because I am the most recent major champion and would've probably had a nice draw. It was a very exciting summer ahead for me, getting to play the Irish Open as the Open champion and then going to defend the Open too.

"So, that's where I really struggled initially, but it was all selfish things."

Like so many across the world, the golfer's short-term professional goals have taken a hit. Temporarily residing with his family in Florida on account of his intended participation in the Players Championship there, as the weeks pass and no date for a return emerges, Shane Lowry has had to contend with some personal challenges also.

Shane Lowry ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

When he should be at his busiest, globe-trotting around to compete in tournaments as he attempts to prime himself for golf's majors, Shane Lowry could never have imagined that he'd be struggling to fill his days in early April.

"So far, it's been OK," he admitted of life in lockdown, "but I'm not sure how much longer I can put up with this.

"I've had ups and downs. At the start, I found it really hard to get my head around the whole thing, then I went through a period where I was focused on my routine doing some stuff every day. Last week, I was a bit down kind of thinking, 'When is this going to end?'

"I haven't hit a shot in about two weeks and I'm even starting to really miss golf now, too. I always miss competing when I'm not playing, but I even miss just getting out and playing nine holes."

With golf out of the equation, Lowry has been determined to keep himself active, however.

Speaking to one another from afar, Robbie Cannon, the golfer's strength & conditioning coach who recently spoke with OTB AM, outlined how Lowry had equipped his Florida home with a home-made gym.

"You do see a lot of people on social media keeping active and healthy," remarked Lowry of his attempts to maintain an active lifestyle, "[and] that is kind of the big thing. If you can stay active, get out for the little walk or run, mentally, that's going to put you in a better place.

"I have one of those Peloton bikes too, but I'm not giving anyone out my username. I see Rory [McIlroy] and a friend of mine Stephen Grant on it, and they're both beasts. If I finished in the top 10 or 15%, I'm happy enough.

"But look, I talk about the gym and doing exercise and that, but I'm not the kind of person who will be looking to lose loads of weight during this or change my body shape, or anything like that. I saw a quote from Paul Kimmage about this period in lockdown being like the Tour de France because you can't be thinking about the finish line in Paris.

"So, you just need to take it day-by-day. I can't go out and practice, but I can do certain things that will help me in my career, and my head, I suppose. I'm looking to get a little bit fitter and a little bit stronger, so we'll see what happens."

Shane Lowry

As much as he craves the intensity of competition on the golf course, as a sports fan, nothing of this current scenario has been made easier for Lowry by the lack of live sport available to watch.

"Generally in these times of crises," he suggested, "and you think about even the recession in '08, '09, people still had sport. Most people had that in their lives and it can get you through everything.

"I remember in '09 when people were going through really tough times, I was lucky to win the Irish Open.

"This happened after Ireland had won the Grand Slam, Leinster had won the Heineken Cup and it just felt like sport was booming and could help people through the tough times. You don't have it now and it is just weird."

For now, the impact of Covid-19 is likely to leave sports fans with little more than nostalgia for a while yet.

With no tangible return to action in mind, however, Shane Lowry is hopeful that those who come through this period of uncertainty will be the better for it.

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Bank Of Ireland Golf Rory McIlroy Shane Lowry The Open