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July 13, 2016

Shane Lowry

Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland

MIKE WOODCOCK: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm delighted to welcome Shane Lowry into the interview room. Shane, obviously you're coming into the Open this week after a tremendous performance at Oakmont and the U.S. Open - a lead going into the final round and played extremely well. How much confidence does that give you going into your next major championship here at Royal Troon?

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, well, it's given me obviously quite a bit of confidence. I've played sort of 54 holes of the best golf of my life, and I played okay for the next nine and then just the back nine on Sunday, I let it slip a little bit. But if you look for three-and-a-half rounds I was kind of up there and leading in one of the biggest tournaments in the world. So it can give you a bit of confidence going forward into this week, as well as just up to myself and manage the expectation of it all.

Q. Shane, you talk about the confidence that gives you, but how much frustration was there, would you say? Was that the back nine that let you down?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, obviously, I mean, the first few days the Monday, Tuesday afterwards was not easy. You know, I was obviously quite disappointed, and I'm not going to lie, there was a few moments where there might have been a tear shed or two. That's just the way it is. That's the game we play.

I know I'll be back there. I know I'll give myself a chance again. It's just up to me to kind of learn from the mistakes of that Sunday afternoon and bring that into the next one.

Q. What mistakes do you think there were and what have you worked on since?
SHANE LOWRY: Listen, it's kind of subconscious stuff. When I say you learn from that, you can't really sit down the following week and write stuff down. It's just kind of maturing as both a player and a person when you get yourself into a situation like that. It's nothing you can work on, I don't think. It's just something that you have to keep putting yourself there and you learn eventually.

Q. Shane, what was your approach that following week? Could you talk through how you deal with it. Is it one of those sort of positive-only mindsets? Would you beat yourself up for a few days and then start again? How did you go for it?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I suppose I was beating myself up for a few days after it. But if you look at it, after the U.S. Open, I was a lot further along in my career than I was the week before, so a lot of positives to take from it. Like I said, I led the tournament. I think Dustin passed me on the 9th or something like that. So I led the tournament for quite a long time. Really looked like I was probably going to win or come very close, anyway. Just, like I said, I let it slip the last few holes.

So, yeah, sorry I'm just completely forgetting the question. I was waffling. Sorry. What was the question again? Was that the answer you were looking for? Sorry.

Q. You obviously take confidence from your performance at the U.S. Open, but how different a challenge is Troon going to pose for you?
SHANE LOWRY: If you look at it, it's actually quite a similar. I've been thinking about it over the past couple of days trying to come up with a winning score in my head. We got to Oakmont and everyone knew it was going to be brutal, how tough it was, and we were kind of ready for that. Troon's kind of a different golf course as in, if you play really well, you can shoot a really good score around here. You can really make a good score on the front nine and you can hold on to it on the back nine. If you get lucky, you might make a couple of birdies.

I think it's very similar. You just have to try to keep making pars. Even if you're going out at the golf course early on and you're only making pars, you probably feel like you're lagging behind a little bit. But you've got to keep trying to make pars, stay confident, stay patient. I think at some stage on the front nine or on a few holes this week, you'll get on a run to make four birdies in a row, and you just have to kind of wait for those moments to happen.

It's a little bit different, but I think the winning score might not be too dissimilar.

Q. What do you think of the Postage Stamp?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I mean, I played with Graeme yesterday and we talked about it. If it wasn't famous, you'd probably stand up and think this is the easiest par-3 in the world. But I haven't played it in a tournament, so it's probably going to be a little bit more intimidating tomorrow than it has been the last couple of days. The last couple of days just stood up and flicked away onto the middle of the green and it felt quite easy, but so does the 17 at Sawgrass in a practise round. It will be just interesting to see.

I'm sure it's going to throw up a few numbers, but it's also going to throw up a lot of birdies as well. So depending on the wind direction, obviously. If you get strong into the wind, they can play very tough. You just have to -- like I said, it's probably if you just try and hit the green. Hit the green, you have a chance for a birdie. If you make a par, it's not the end of the world.

Q. I have two questions, if you wouldn't mind: The first one is, six Irish golfers this week, five have won majors, you come up runners-up in a major, Paul Dunne led the Open last year as an amateur. If you don't win this week, there is a strong Irish challenge, can you see an Irish Open winner on Sunday evening?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, as far as obviously Rory is one of the favourites, so there's obviously a chance of him winning. Graeme's been playing okay. He had a good week, decent week last week both on his back nine on Sunday. And Paul is Paul, if he gets himself in there with a sniff, you never know what can happen. I'm obviously playing okay. There is no reason why we can't or there can't be an Irish winner on Sunday, I think.

We've got a strong challenge here this week. We're obviously used to the conditions that this course is going to throw. Yeah, there's no reason why not. I just hope it's me.

Q. If you wouldn't mind, we hope it is. Your putting at Hoylake two years ago was exceptional. Is that something you've got to get back at? Because sometimes you can be a little hit or miss on the greens. I'm not trying to bring up demons or something like that.
SHANE LOWRY: Thanks. Today's Wednesday, you know (laughter).

Q. If you have a good putting week, do you think you're as good as anybody in this field?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, yeah. I think if I hole a few putts this week, I do think I can stand there on Sunday. Hopefully on the 18th green lifting the trophy.

But, yeah, I'm not putting badly by any means at the minute. I putted obviously well at Oakmont. I mean, I was putting in 40 mile-an-hour winds last Thursday, so you can't really gauge that too much. But yeah, I felt like I putted okay last week, and I think the greens are lovely here this week. You know, there are going to be quite a few people holing putts. If I can hole a few putts, I do think I can do well here.

Q. You just talked about managing expectations. Your own expectations are higher than anyone else's, and the fact that you're here on the Wednesday at this press conference and the group you're going to play with tomorrow, that all shows how far you've risen in the game. So how do you control your own desire to match and improve from your performances?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, as far as if you look at the last two weeks it's been a bit like that. I probably have been expecting a bit too much of myself, trying too hard. Trying to get up to the top of the leaderboard too quickly and just not staying as patient as I have been for a good bit of the year. Because if you look at my years, it hasn't been going great up until Oakmont, but I've been staying very patient and just trying to go along and playing good golf. I think that's just what I need to do.

Obviously, it's great to be here and doing a press conference on a Wednesday. And I have a really good group tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to that. I can't wait. That's where I wanted to be. I've been in plenty of shitty groups over the years, so with all due respect to the golfers, I shouldn't say that, should I? (Laughter). But you know what I mean. I've been like last off and first off. I don't mean by the players I was playing with but I meant the times more so. God (laughing).

So, yeah, it's where you want to be in the world of golf, playing with the best players in the world and trying to compete against those.

Q. And just the house you're in, is it the same group that were with you at Oakmont?
SHANE LOWRY: There's a few different. Me dad and my brother's here. Kieran's with us, and my uncle Colin just arrived with his son. So, yeah, it's a nice house. My dad's been busy cooking breakfast every morning. No chef this week. He's the chef. So it's been nice so far.

Q. You won Bridgestone and you've contended in a couple of U.S. Opens. Are you starting to feel sort of comfortable in that high-pressure situation on a Sunday of a major of a big WGC tournament? Are you starting to thrive in that situation?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I genuinely believe that I'm, without sounding too cocky, I like the big-time play. I like the big tournaments. I love playing in front of the big crowds. I love playing late on Saturdays and Sundays. I think it's kind of where you want to be. Obviously I had a good win last year and I've been up there in a few majors here and there. I just love it like I love the heat of -- I love competing at the highest level. There's no greater buzz in the world. It's what I go out and play golf for.

So, yeah, I just hope I'm there on Saturday afternoon with a chance with 36 holes to go and we'll see after that.

Q. Have you taken advice from any legends or people that had to stay cool in that position or is it just a case of learning it yourself?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I just think you need to learn what works for yourself. Obviously I hang around a lot with Pádraig and Graeme, and they've both won majors, and they've been in those situations quite a few times. So yeah, you learn from those guys. But trying to do it myself and learn things myself and see what way I like to do it, and hopefully do okay.

Q. It doesn't sound like we're going to get the worst of the weather this week. But is there a certain kind of weather that you least like playing in, and maybe do you have a story about maybe the worst weather you've played in and maybe does the Irish Open come to mind?
SHANE LOWRY: I mean, obviously, I don't think the forecast is actually not that bad this week, and I don't think it's going to throw up a bad side of the draw, which is nice. You come to the Open and you really feel like it's up to the luck of the draw sometimes, and that can be disappointing for one half of the field. So thankfully that looks like it's not going to happen.

In regards to bad weather, I've played in enough bad weather over the years. You know, 40-mile-an-hour winds, rain. I've played in it all. Probably the worst rain I've ever played in was at the U.S. PGA a couple years where they made us play on. I remember I was one of the first groups out on Friday morning, and it was just brutal weather. So that was probably the worst rain and the worst wind I played.

In amateur tournaments, I remember playing the Irish amateur in Portmarnock where we could barely reach the 17th hole par-4 in three shots. So we're used to it. I don't think we're going to get any of that weather this week, thankfully.

Q. You said at Oakmont you weren't particularly looking forward to that corporate day on Monday with comments people might make. Just wondering what have people said to you since Oakmont family-wise or whether it's down at the shops or from a peer that's maybe helped you or amused you? And are you using maybe your own internal feeling to get over that?
SHANE LOWRY: I mean, I'm well and truly over it. My God, it's like I said, I'm much further along in my career. Before the U.S. Open I was nowhere near the Ryder Cup team. Now I've put myself in the reckoning for it. I'm well up. I'm into the FedExCup definitely now. I'm well up -- I'm moving back up the world rankings. So it's all positives.

But in regards to when I got home, yeah, I mean, Irish people are great. I spent a lot of time just chilling that week and going down to where I live, and even into the local coffee shop and people patting me on the back and saying, "well done", and how much they were pulling for me on the weekend. I mean, that's great. I always get great support from the Irish people. It's a great little country when you're doing well. It's nice, the support when you flick on your phone and you see the support you're getting on social media and stuff.

Obviously from my peers, Pádraig, I think when I met him on the Monday, I think he was more disappointed for me than I was myself that day. So, yeah, I've said a few things, but it's nothing really that -- I'm not crying myself to sleep every night. I'll survive. It's just one of those things that happened and I'm sure I'll be back.

Q. Shane, having had a good look at Troon, what is the one thing that you must avoid on this course, if you would, to do well?
SHANE LOWRY: I think the fairway bunkers. Just stay out of the fairway bunkers. To play this golf course, you need to take a few of them on, but I think if you stay out of the fairway bunkers and if you play 10, 11, and 12 okay, I think that's kind of going to be the key for the week.

MIKE WOODCOCK: We'll now take questions from our Sky junior reporters joining us today.

Q. They say the luck of the Irish, what are your golf superstitions?
SHANE LOWRY: My superstitions, I carry a marker with a shamrock on it that I use that my wife got for me last year. She got me one last year and I lost it, and I didn't hit a shot for about three months (laughter). So she got me another one and I'm doing okay again, so, yeah.

Q. How painful does it feel to win the Irish Open and not take home €500,000? (Laughter).
SHANE LOWRY: I suppose at the time, yeah, I didn't really mind. I think it would have been more of a hindrance for me if I had gotten the 500 grand. I was quite young and immature. Yeah, it wasn't a bad thing. It got me my European Tour card, and that's all I really cared about at the time.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Thank you to our junior reporters and, Shane, thank you for joining us this afternoon. Best of luck this week.

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