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June 29, 2016

Shane Lowry

Akron, Ohio

CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome back our defending champion Shane Lowry here to the Bridgestone Invitational. Just opening comments on returning to the spot of last year's victory.

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it's nice to be back. Obviously come back somewhere you've done well and somewhere you enjoy coming to is always nice. I'm happy to be back here. I know there was obviously some questions whether I would be coming back. There's not too many Europeans here this week, but I think I was always going to come back here and defend my title.

Q. I was wondering if you at all reconsidered your decision to come here after the U.S. Open as you made a big move in the Ryder Cup standings.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, we actually -- my manager Kieron, we talked about that. Before the U.S. Open he wanted to keep me entered in the French, but I said to him, no matter what happens at the U.S. Open, I'm going to go to Firestone. Didn't reconsider it at all. Obviously I'm just outside the Ryder Cup team right now, but we've got plenty more tournaments. We've got -- I've got Scottish next week, the Open, the PGA, and I've got all the FedEx, and where I'm trying to make the team is off the world points list, so they're all World Ranking events.

Q. I'm just wondering how you're playing now and how does that compare to what you won here last year? What was working so well, and is it working now?
SHANE LOWRY: Well, I just finished second at the U.S. Open and probably should have won it, so I'm playing okay.

Q. But the key to --
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I'm driving it like -- I really attacked this golf course last year. I hit driver a lot. You know, that's kind of the golf I play, and I'll be doing the same this week. Yeah, drove the ball well at Oakmont. I didn't do much last week. I had two corporate days that I did, but I didn't hit a shot other than that, so it was nice to get out there and play a few holes yesterday, and I'll play nine today again.

Yeah, I'm playing nicely. My game feels good, and I'm confident. That's key for me is confidence.

Q. When you look back at the U.S. Open, what was the reaction like, the comparison of maybe some disappointment there with the final round but also finishing second, best finish in a major?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I mean, the few days after the U.S. Open were quite tough. Found myself -- any time I was on my own, I had to keep myself busy because any time I was on my own I just -- I was thinking what if had done this or if this would have happened, and I was driving myself mad. But I'm over that now, and I'm ready to get back playing.

Obviously if I look back on the U.S. Open, it was a great week. I led it by four shots going into the final round. I was close. I was tied for the lead or leading by one, who knows, with four holes to play or five holes to play. It was a great week. It was one of the best weeks of my career to contend in a tournament like that and probably could have easily won.

I look back, and that would give me a lot of confidence going forward, and when I put myself in that position next time, I'll be okay.

Q. Did you see any positives during those moments alone or was it all negatives, what you did wrong instead of what you take out of it?
SHANE LOWRY: It was all negatives at the time. I mean, it's strange, you know, I'm not going to lie; I went into the locker room afterwards and my coach Neil was there packing up my bags for me, and we gave each other a bit of a hug. And I was in tears anyway. I think he was, as well. You know, it's a tough situation to be in.

Golf is a strange game because, you know, after finishing second in one of the biggest tournaments in the world, and you have such disappointment. It's weird. Golf is a weird game. Unless you win you're disappointed. It's strange.

And yet a few days afterwards, there were a few tears here and there, but that's just the way I am. I'm an emotional fella, and I want to do well. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and that's kind of the way I am.

But you know, now speaking to my coach, I had a nice sit-down with him on Sunday before I left for here, and speaking to him, there's so many positives to take from the U.S. Open, and going forward, I look back on that in a few years' time and look back on that that was one week that really stood out to me for the rest of my career.

Q. Your schedule going forward, have you thought much about balancing the two Tours, where you're going to be living, how you organize that?
SHANE LOWRY: As in years down the line?

Q. Next couple years.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I think Ireland is always going to be my home. I can't see myself moving to the States at all. As everyone knows, I'm quite friendly with Padraig, so he's done it for the last 15 years, traveled over and back. I'm not finding it too difficult. Most times, most tournaments I just leave on a Sunday from home, and I get home the following -- I get home like the following Monday. Most tournaments I can get out on a Sunday night, which gets me home on Monday. It's not too bad. Just as long as I do my schedule well, and as long as I stay inside the top 50 in the world, it'll be easy to do. But there will be some complications if I do fall outside the top 50 in the world, and I'm not in the bigger tournaments and don't have those choices. But at the moment it all seems fine. I do see me -- I'll always -- like Dublin is my home now in Ireland, and I see that being the case for the next while, yeah.

Q. How do you practice in the winter?
SHANE LOWRY: I don't. (Laughter.)

Yeah, the weather is obviously not great. I mean, it's -- you can get out and hit shots for an hour. I just need to keep the rust away for me. Obviously you don't have to -- the guys that live over here, you don't have the facilities they have. But I've got a couple of golf courses near my house, and my coach Neil is down in Carton House at a really good range. I go hit some shots, I might play nine holes with my friends. But as long as I keep myself taking over, I'm keeping up. I'm not one of these guys that feels like I need to practice all every day. If I play nine holes four, five times a week, I'm pretty happy.

Q. Have you ever heard the British Open referred to as the British Open anywhere but America?
SHANE LOWRY: No, it's always the Open, isn't it, the Open Championship. Yeah, people call it the British Open. Yeah, I don't know. I haven't even thought about it, but I do -- I think I sometimes might call it the British Open. I don't even know.

Q. You just did.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I just did, yeah. But yeah, they call it the Open Championship. Yeah.

Q. When you're at home, quick reference, do you ever call it the Open? The Irish Open I'm talking about. Do you refer to it as the Open?
SHANE LOWRY: The Irish Open? No, I call it the Irish Open, yeah.

Q. There was a story back home in your papers that kind of took you to task for your physique. I was wondering what your reaction to that was.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I would like to be honest, I probably shouldn't have re-Tweeted that at the time, but I was quite annoyed with that so-called journalist or whoever he is. Blaming my weight for me not winning the U.S. Open. Little did he know that I was one ahead with five -- after 67 holes or 66 holes, whatever it was. But that's just -- you have people like that. Irish people are the best in the world, but then there's some of them that are -- they like to get on your back as soon as they can. Yeah, that's just the way it is. I've had it all my life, and more so now.

Q. Going back to that day, how confused were you during that back nine with where you stood?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, to be honest, at the time I didn't think -- I didn't think it affected me, and I did my interviews afterwards and I said it didn't affect me at all, but when I look back on it, it did. You know, I stood on the 16th tee, and to be fair, Billy Foster, who caddies for Lee, went over to Dermot and as Dermot was walking off the 15th green and basically said to him that he doesn't think Dustin was going to be penalized. We then stood on the 16th tee and went, right, we're two behind, whereas we were only one behind.

Now, I think I've heard reports, and I spoke to Lee about it, I think if Dustin really wanted to argue his case, he could have, and he might have got away with that penalty shot if he really needed to. I mean, it would have been interesting to see if the two of us had have been tied or I would have won by one, whether Dustin would have got penalized that shot or not.

I think we might have had a different scenario then. But at the time, yeah, I thought it didn't affect me, but it did, yeah. It really did.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to Dustin yet?
SHANE LOWRY: I congratulated him at the -- just at the prize giving. I haven't seen him. I haven't seen him yet, but yeah.

Q. There's a saying in mostly team sports or whatever that you have to lose one to win one. Do you feel that's something you can take forward?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I spoke about that last week with my coach, as well. You know, Keegan Bradley didn't lose one. Jason Dufner didn't lose one. You know, there is guys that win it at their first attempt, as well. You know, you can't really look at it like that.

But yeah, I mean, it'll only give me strength going forward. Put it this way: If I don't learn from that, it's my own mistake. I just learn from that going forward, and when I'm in -- like I said, when I'm in that position again, I know I'll be okay.

Q. We have obvious examples, Jason Day, now No. 1, Dustin himself --
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, like Dustin has been in my shoes a few times, and I don't think anyone will begrudge him winning that U.S. Open. I think a lot of people are happy for him. Dustin is a nice fellow, I get on with him well, him and his brother A.J., nice guys, and obviously I wasn't happy to see him win, but when you look back at it, yes, it's nice to see him win one. In my eyes he's one of the most if not the most talented golfer in the world. It's nice to see him win one.

Q. You got here early in your career after the Irish Open win. What was your first reaction when you saw this place? Was it your first time playing this type of golf course? Did you feel it was a place you could win down the road?
SHANE LOWRY: Well, the first time I came here, I shot 20 over for four rounds. I didn't think leaving that Sunday that I could win around here. Yeah, it obviously shows me how far I've come. The next time I came back, then I think I shot level par for four rounds. Scoring was quite low that year.

Yeah, to win around this golf course, I mean, it shows that I've come a long way since I turned pro, and my game has matured and got a lot better than it was like since it has in '09.

This golf course is probably one of the best and the toughest courses to win around all year, so to win around this golf course obviously is great.

Q. Have you played any amateur golf in the States or was this your first event in the States?
SHANE LOWRY: I played a few, like the Golfing Union, we used to play a match in -- against the MGA every year, or every second year, and I've played there a couple of times, but that was it. Didn't really play much in the States at all. MGA is in New York.

Q. Does your decision to withdraw from the Olympics create a bigger incentive for you to make the Ryder Cup team and play for Europe?
SHANE LOWRY: I mean, there's no -- you know, the pinnacle of my golfing career would be to win a major or to play the Ryder Cup or to do both. To do both, really. To win a major and play in the Ryder Cup for Europe and win the Ryder Cup for Europe. That didn't really have any bearing in my decision to not play the Olympics, or it doesn't really make me want to play in the Ryder Cup any more. Obviously I made the decision over the weekend that I'm not going to play in the Olympics, I'm not going to go down to Rio.

First of all, no one, and I've got people can believe me or say what they want about me, but no one wants to play for Ireland more than I do. To not be going down to Rio now is a little bit disappointing, but that's just the decision I had to make. My wife, I'm newly married, we plan on starting a family. Obviously it was a decision I felt like I had to make. I know there's a small risk going -- it's only a very small risk going down to Rio, but that word is still there, the risk. There's still a risk going down. If anything, God forbid, was ever to happen to any of my kids, if I have a family, if I'm lucky enough to have a family, if anything was to ever happen to any of my kids and it was my fault completely, I would never live with myself.

I spoke with people last week, and that's the decision I made. I stand by that decision, and I still think it was the right one.

Q. Just looking past Rio, is there anything you would like to see about the format of the Olympics changed for Tokyo, like maybe a team concept or --
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, team would be nice. I have no idea like -- if it was a team event, I don't think it would make anyone's decision any different to go down or not, but yeah, if it was a team event, it would be nice. I'm looking forward to going down to Melbourne at the end of the year and playing for Ireland in the World Cup. I don't know if Rory is going to play or I don't know who he's going to be with, but hopefully I'll be going. The fact that that's a team event, it'll be exciting. It'll be something different for us. We're playing individual golf all year-round, and to play something like that would be nice. Yeah, maybe it might be something different or something nice, but I don't know.

Q. Curious, where were you at The K Club? Where were you there for the '06 Ryder Cup?
SHANE LOWRY: I was, I was actually there in the -- I was there on the first tee on the Friday when Darren and Lee come onto the first tee. That was the only day I was there. But yeah, I was there. It was pretty cool. To think that I have half a chance to being able to live something like that would be amazing, yeah.

Q. What was your best memory from that week?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, first tee was amazing. I remember Darren nailing a drive down there, down the right-hand side of the fairway. The first hole at The K Club is not even a driver, but I can imagine he didn't want to hit anything else. Yeah, it was -- that's probably my best memory. I just remember going around the golf course. I remember we stood at the 4th green and the 11th green for the whole day, watching groups come through, and it was just -- yeah, it was just special to be there. So yeah.

Q. How did you get in?
SHANE LOWRY: How did I get in? I got tickets. Someone got me a ticket. I actually can't even remember who brought me, but I was there, yeah.

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