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August 7, 2019

Shane Lowry

Jersey City, New Jersey

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Shane, thanks for joining us in the Northern Trust media center. Welcome to New Jersey.

It's been a whirlwind last few weeks for you following the home win. Talk us through the mindset as you prepare for the first of the FedExCup Playoffs this week.

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, obviously it's been an incredible couple of weeks. The win in Portrush was something, look, I didn't know whether I would actually get a chance to live something like that. That's like a dream come true almost.

These last couple of weeks have come upon me quite quickly and now you will after the sudden I'm back tomorrow trying to play some tournament golf.

I'm looking forward to getting back going. I'm looking forward to the FedExCup. It's my first FedExCup so I'm excited. I'm in a nice position going into these couple of events and hopefully I can move up the board a little bit and give myself a little bit of a chance come Atlanta.

Q. Rory was in here saying that the only advice he offered you was to enjoy the moment; I guess you guys played a couple practice holes together. Did you have a problem doing that at all?
SHANE LOWRY: I don't think I did (laughter). Look, the thing with golf, my form has been quite good the last year or so, but before that for a couple of years, I was struggling. I lost my PGA TOUR card. I was down in the dumps a little bit with golf, so when you come back and get to achieve something like I did a few weeks ago in Portrush; to win The Open Championship on the island of Ireland, it is dream stuff. Like you couldn't write it any better.

Yeah, I did enjoy the week after. I had a nice holiday with my family last week. Sort of got back to playing golf, as well. Played a few games of golf over there with some friends.

Yeah, I do feel like I'm ready. I just finished the Pro-Am there and felt like I played okay. I do feel like I'm ready to get back playing. Like I said, I'm actually looking forward to the next sort of run of events.

But look, I'm not going to be putting any pressure on myself the next few weeks. No matter what happens the next few weeks, I'm not saying I'm going to settle on what I have already this year. I'm a very ambitious person and I'm a very ambitious golfer, as well, and no matter what happens the next few weeks, I'm very happy with my season so far.

Q. From the time you left Portrush to the first time you actually struck a golf ball, would that have been the games you played?
SHANE LOWRY: That was -- yeah, about the Tuesday, a week, so eight days.

Q. But that was your first ball -- not trying to dramatize this -- actually I am. The first time hitting the golf ball as the champion golfer in the world?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, in Portugal. It was a pretty decent one, but if I'm honest, I didn't play great that day. I was out playing with some friends. Look, I was just playing some holiday golf in a golf cart and shorts, and it was cool and it was nice to get back playing. It was nice to see where my game was at and by the end of the week, I was playing okay.

Q. There was no way it was going to sink in on Sunday night. What signed of sink-in moments have you had since then?
SHANE LOWRY: I'm not sure it's quite fully sunk in yet to be honest. I just did an interview there with SKY Sports, and Andrew introduced me as the Champion Golfer of the Year, and it's just kind of -- it's almost like you have to pinch yourself. I'm sure it's something over the coming weeks or months or however long it takes, it will sink in.

I honestly feel very fortunate to have done something like that. I feel very lucky to have been able to live through something like that. It is a dream and if you were to -- I've thought about it a bit over the last couple of weeks. If you were to lay out my career on a piece of paper when I'm all done, and you were to pick one tournament you'd want to win, that one would be very much at the top of the list.

Yeah, I do feel very fortunate.

Q. Has your life changed since winning? Are you more well known over in Ireland now? "The Fields of Athenwry," is that your victory song?
SHANE LOWRY: It was just on. It just happened -- there was plenty more moments from that night that wasn't captured on video thankfully (laughter). That was one that was -- and it obviously went out there.

Yeah, look, it's changed my life a little bit. I'm definitely more recognized now, and even coming over here to events, but if anything when you are like that, it makes you feel more comfortable. That's the way I feel, anyway. They are not calling me "Beef" or they are not calling me "J.B. Holmes" out there, anyway (laughter). That's a plus.

Definitely back home, the support I've got back home has just been incredible. I haven't really sat back and thought about it a lot but what I feel -- hopefully it's going to do a little bit gore November in Ireland and hopefully it's going to get kids playing the game. It does feel like it has had that effect a little bit over the last few weeks and hopefully I can move forward and become more successful, as well, and make kids want to start playing golf, too.

Q. How does a win like you had at Portrush change your expectations of yourself here, showing up to a tournament like this with all the world's best players, basically. Do you feel more -- you've always sort of felt a part of it and not felt over-matched, but do you feel more confident now having already won a major?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, look, the way I've played golf this year, and I set my stall out at the start of the year, myself and my coach, we had great conversations a couple weeks at the start of the year, and literally all we talk about is: No matter what happens next week -- no matter what happens today, there's always tomorrow. No matter what happens this week, there's always next week. No matter what you do -- it's totally irrelevant when I stand on the golf course tomorrow what I've done two weeks ago.

Obviously I won The Open and I'm a Major Champion, but that doesn't give me the God-given right to go out and shoot 65 tomorrow, do you know what I mean. I still have to go out there and do my own thing and play my own game and see where it leaves me. Like I said at the start of The Open, I'm going to give it 100 percent tomorrow and shoot the best score I can, and see where it leaves me and I'll do the same on Friday and hopefully on the weekend.

I feel the way I've been playing golf all year and the mental frame of mind I've got myself in has been really good, and I think I just need to keep doing that and just keep taking it day by day and week-after-week and see where it leaves me at the end of the year.

Q. Playing practice rounds like the Pro-Am today and comparing it to the week of actual play, what is the difference of your mind-set going into a Pro-Am, knowing you're going to play all 18 holes and conditions may be a little different -- it's pouring outside right now. Talk about the mindset going in from Wednesday, playing a full 18, to going 18 on Thursday and Friday?
SHANE LOWRY: Well, look, you know, Pro-Ams -- you play Pro-Ams. Pro-Ams are obviously a huge part of the Tour. They are one of the reasons we have tournaments is because you have to go out there -- my main goal when I go out to the Pro-Ams is I try to give my playing partners the best day I possibly can.

It's funny, I've learned quite a few things from PƔdraig Harrington over the years, and that's one thing I've always learned. He really -- if you look at the way he treats his amateurs in a Pro-Am and his sponsors and all that, it's to give them the best day he possibly can because without them, we wouldn't have tournaments.

Some people use them as practice rounds. For me this week, I played nine holes yesterday -- I do get to see the golf course, but I'm not off hitting chips and putts. I'm reading putts for them. It is different. You're out there for 5 1/2 or six hours in a Pro-Am but you're literally just trying to give them the best day you possibly can.

I was hoping to do some practice this afternoon, but not now. Just go out there tomorrow, and it's totally different tomorrow. You're in your own bubble and trying to shoot the best score you can.

Q. Watching you go around Portrush, it looked effortless.
SHANE LOWRY: It wasn't.

Q. Can you describe the feeling, was it the state of flow, whatever we want to describe, just what was going through your mind over the course of those four days?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I suppose it was kind of documented well on Wednesday, or after Wednesday, like that I didn't feel too comfortable after the practice rounds. I didn't like where my game was at, but when I look back now, I was actually playing okay.

A lot of players have -- Wednesday of a major, you kind of get a little bit uptight and a little bit anxious of how you're feeling and how you're feeling. I had a great conversation with my coach that night. I went out Thursday and I felt like I played lovely. Shot a nice score. Got myself right into the tournament, really where I wanted to be.

Then after ten holes on Friday, I was leading the tournament by a couple of shots and I was flying. I felt sort of the back nine on Friday, I started to look at the leaderboard and let it slip a little bit. I tried to get to the clubhouse quicker than I should have, do you know what I mean. I didn't keep flowing.

If anything that really helped me on Saturday because when I got going on Saturday, I just put the foot down and just kept going. I'm not sure I've ever been in that place before, but it's a nice place to be. I felt like I was going to birdie every hole. I felt like nothing was a problem. I enjoyed that day. Obviously Sunday was incredible to win The Open that day, but the Saturday on the golf course, honestly was one of the most surreal things that's happened. The crowds, the singing, everything that was going on, it was unbelievable.

Q. Is there any way to tap into that feeling?
SHANE LOWRY: I think over -- I'm not sure. Look, if you knew how to get into that place, you'd bottle it and sell it for a lot of money. It's somewhere that maybe as a pro golfer, you only get there a few times over your career, but when you get there, you want to take advantage of it, and I did.

Q. Have you leaned on G-Mac or PƔdraig at all about what life is like after you do win a major, or has any other Major Champion come to you and offered some words of wisdom?
SHANE LOWRY: I will at some stage, I'm sure. I played a couple of holes with G-Mac yesterday. I haven't been talking to Paddy at all.

No, to answer your question, I haven't, but I probably will at some stage. Like I haven't had time -- I haven't been talking to anyone, but obviously if I feel like I need to, I will at some stage. Hopefully I can take it in my stride and hopefully I can kick on now and become the player that I really feel like I want to be, and you know, go on now and maybe win more tournaments and try and move further and further up the World Rankings.

Q. You had said before The Open that The Irish Open victory would always be your biggest legacy. Do you feel like that's changed now?
SHANE LOWRY: I think so, yeah. I did say that. Look, it's funny, I fully believed that. I fully believed that, and I -- but when you look at what I did at The Open, and the way I won the tournament, as well, I think looking back on that now at the end of my career, it will be a pretty good achievement.

Q. From what you have seen of the course, what have you thought so far of the layout and what do you think will be challenging going into the weekends?
SHANE LOWRY: The golf course, you need to drive the ball well around here. There's a lot of hazards. You can get yourself in a bit of trouble. It doesn't seem -- the greens are a bit undulating. I'm not sure, but it doesn't seem too tricky around the greens. Look, the weather we are getting now, it's going to be quite soft. But I'm not sure.

Look, I've never played here, so I'm not sure what the winning scores were before. I'm not sure how hard it played. I'm just going to go out tomorrow and see what score I can shoot. I tend to try and not look at that. I tend to try and play my own game and see where it leaves me at the end of the day and at the end of the week.

Q. Where is that little trophy? Has it left your side?
SHANE LOWRY: It's in my hotel room in Manhattan.

Q. What plans do you have for it in terms of displaying it at the home club?
SHANE LOWRY: I have no idea. Honestly, past these three weeks, I have no idea what lies ahead for me. I'm going to play -- hopefully I'm playing these next two weeks and THE TOUR Championship, and I'll have a few weeks off after that and kind of sit down with my team and reset and kind of set out some goals.

Ultimately, I've said it all year, my main goal for the next sort of ten months is to make that Ryder Cup Team and to be on the plane going to Whistling Straits. Nothing has changed in that way. I'm in a decent position now where I can go and give it a good run. I'm in every tournament for the next -- you know, for the foreseeable future and hopefully I can give it a good run and be on that team.

Q. As we look at the most recent end result, which is The Open, when did you first realize you were good at this game? Was there a moment in junior golf that you realized?
SHANE LOWRY: I have no idea. I don't think I'm -- I don't think I've ever been that type of person where I would think that I'm good, do you know what I mean. I don't think -- when I was younger, I wasn't cocky, or I don't feel like that, anyway.

When I come out of school, I think when you make -- like back home, amateur golf is pretty big. It definitely was when I was playing, with Rory knocking around, quite a lot of good players. When you made the Irish team, when I was 19, from then -- I kind of thought before then I was going to be a professional golfer but I was young and naĆÆve. I really didn't know what it entailed. When I started to win tournaments, sort of when I was around 19, I kind of thought, this is what I want to do and this is what I can do, yeah.

Q. During your winner's press conference, one of the journalists asked you what's next and what are your goals, and you said, give me a little time to enjoy this. While you were in Portugal, did you have any time to think about what's next or the $15 million first prize in the FedExCup?
SHANE LOWRY: I haven't thought about that at all. Yeah, look, I think looking at the new system and the new format here, I think you need to be in the Top-10, top -- maybe Top-12 going into THE TOUR Championships to have a chance. Look, as good as Brooks Koepka and those guys are, to give them two shots a day would be extremely difficult.

I think my main goal for the upcoming weeks is to maybe try and sneak inside the Top 15 or Top-10 going into Atlanta, and when you're there, just give it 100 percent and see where it leaves you. Because look, I started this year with no card over here, and you know, I've got my card here for the next five years. No matter what happens with me the next few weeks, it's all bonus. It's all bonus territory for me. I'm just going to go out and give it my best shot and see where it leaves me.

Q. What was the coolest thing that happened to you since winning?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I don't know if you've seen it over here. For me, like the coolest thing did I was I went out to Croke Park on the Saturday evening after the tournament and got a standing ovation from 60,000 people. That was pretty cool. That's like the -- that's the mecca in Ireland. That's the stadium. That's where you want to play. When I was a kid, that's the only place you wanted to play. It was pretty cool doing that. It was the hurling the semifinal between Kilkenny and Limerick.

Q. Seemed like your go-to shot at Portrush was a low, piercing driver that was like an 80-feet apex. Is that a shot you plan to employ playing these American, northeast courses or will you change your ball flight?
SHANE LOWRY: It's quite windy. So I got a new driver about -- struggled with my driving at the start of the year. Srixon come out with a new driver in April for me and I found that shot and I can hit fairways with it. I'll be hitting it a lot this week because you need to hit fairways. It's a low, left-to-right stinger almost. It still pitches a long way. Like I can pitch it 270 or 280 without a little bit of run on it, so it's a pretty nice shot to have. Whenever I feel under pressure or I feel like I get a tight tee shot, I feel like I can hit it.

Q. No hurling for you?
SHANE LOWRY: No, hurling for me. I played when I was a kid until I was 16 or 17. Where we're from is kind of more football, like Gaelic football.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Thanks very much for coming in.

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