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November 10, 2020

Shane Lowry

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to welcome Shane Lowry to the interview room.
Shane, you're with us today, partly because of your historic win in Royal Portrush at The Open Championship last year. Can you tell us a little bit about what it meant to you to win so close to home.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it's something that I never get sick of talking about. It's something that I feel very privileged to have done. You know, to get the opportunity to let alone play The Open Championship in Ireland but to go on and win it in the style I did, to be able to enjoy that walk down 17 and 18, kind of looking back on it‑‑ and I do look back on it every now and then, and I do look back on it with so many fond memories and kind of pinch myself.
Like I said, it's just something that I feel very privileged to have been able to achieve that in my life.
THE MODERATOR: You had a good performance in Houston at the weekend, and this is your fifth Masters. What kind of preparation have you done? And you played yesterday, I believe.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, good week last week, and I felt like I played okay in Wentworth and Vegas, and I feel like my golf is in a decent place. You know, coming back to Augusta, obviously it's my favorite place in the world to play golf without a doubt, but it's somewhere I've never had much success.
This is my fifth Masters, and I don't think I've ever shot too many great rounds around here. I'm hoping the time of year kind of changes my look around here and like probably coming in with a bit more form than I ever really have.
So yeah, I'm hopeful for the week ahead. I do feel like my game is in a good place. I played nine holes yesterday and feel like the course is great. We are going to get a bit of rain, which everybody is going to say is going to suit me, but you know, we just have to wait and see. But yeah, I do feel like my game is in a good place after a decent week last week in Houston.

Q. Have you identified maybe what it is that hasn't clicked around here for you? I know everybody studies what they have done in the past. Is there one thing that hasn't worked, especially since you like the place so much?
SHANE LOWRY: Well, everybody loves it here, whether you've had success or not around here, this is I think the majority of people's favorite place to play golf. I've never driven the ball well around here, and that's kind of strange. I've struggled on the greens in the past, so it's kind of a bit of both, but I don't think I've ever come in with any form. You know, coming in in April, almost coming off the back of like, say, The World Match Play and Houston before, and I've never really done that well there.
Yeah, I've never really come in with much form here, and I feel like I'm playing okay coming into this week. I'm hoping my luck is going to change a little bit. All I can do is really try and prepare the best I can the next couple of days and go out there Thursday and just be aggressive and just be smart, as well, and just be aggressive when you need to be and stuff like that.
Like I've never played the par 5s well around here, and everybody knows, Augusta, you need to play the par 5s well to shoot a decent score. I kind of have my eye a little bit on those this week, and hopefully I can get out there Thursday and get off to a good start. And look, you never know what can happen then.

Q. I remember a couple years ago, Adam Scott, being the first Australian to win and the significance of this tournament in Australia, he said no matter what he did the rest of his career, no matter how many majors he won or what‑have‑you, he could never top a moment like that. I wonder if you feel the same way about Portrush last year.
SHANE LOWRY: If I could ever top Portrush? I think, yeah, I'll struggle, but if I have a chance, it will be around here, you know what I mean. Like to be the first Irishman to ever wear the green jacket would be pretty special. That's probably one of the only things that could top it.
Obviously, look, I've worked very hard all my life and I've, you know, really put my mind down to it, and I achieved something very, very special last year.
Yes, I probably won't ever top that, but if it is, it will maybe be around here. I think to wear a green jacket would be just very, very special. You know, I think they will be on par. We'll just wait and see.
But I'm not going to talk myself up too much. I'm never really one to do that. I just kind of go about my business the way I always do and if I give myself a chance on Sunday, look, I know I can pull something like this off.

Q. If someone back home who knew just a little bit about the Masters, but not much, and asked you what are some of the coolest traditions about this tournament, what would you tell them, and what will you be missing this week?
SHANE LOWRY: Especially now that I have a daughter, I had the best time ever at the Par‑3 tournament last year, having her around. I made a hole‑in‑one on the second, and just a buzz around there.
I'm certainly going to miss all the Patrons around the place, the roar and the buzz. But I do think that this is going to be a special Masters. I do think that this is going to be pretty cool in itself, with no ropes out there, no grandstands. The visuals are a little bit different on some holes.
But the big thing I'm going to miss is the Par‑3 tournament. I think Wednesday afternoon every year is pretty cool to go out and do that. It relaxes you and takes your mind away from the job at hand, gives you a few hours off, and it's just something really nice.

Q. Curious this year with all that's been going on socially, politically, COVID, the extent to which golf is as much or more of an escape for you, as well as a living, and how that's been from the standpoint of playing without crowds, especially being here and not having any of the Patrons on the grounds; does it feel more like an escape, a way to get away from all that we've been surrounded with this year?
SHANE LOWRY: No, I don't think so. I think any time I step out there between the ropes I know I'm trying to do my job and trying to do my best.
Look, I definitely miss having the crowds around. There was only 2,000 people a day in Houston last week, but it was pretty cool having people around the place. There was a little bit of a buzz, and that shows how much we probably miss playing in front of fans, because it's kind of‑‑ 2,000 people a day is not much at all, but it feels like there's a good buzz around the place, and I've missed all that.
I do think it kind of affects people in their own way, you know, and I probably miss playing off the crowd a little bit.
But yeah, when I step in between the ropes, I'm there to do my job and I know that. It's not been any escape for me at all, but it is kind of‑‑ look, everyone thinks 2020 is a year that everybody is going to be happy to see the back of, but it's going to be a very special year for someone come the end of this week. Hopefully that's me.

Q. As you noted, your victory was memorable to fans in Ireland and inspiring to a young generation. Do you have any notable memories of the Masters from your youth?
SHANE LOWRY: Off the top of my head, like I only started playing golf the end of the '90s, so like the Tiger Woods era, when Tiger started winning his Masters, and I'm watching him. And I know myself and my friend, we used to go to each other's houses every weekend, and any weekend Tiger was playing, we would sit and watch every shot that he hit.
Just watching Tiger around here, that chip‑in on 16, I don't even know what year that was‑‑ what year was that? Just stuff like that, I remember watching him.
Obviously Cabrera sticks out, players like that. Even watching Mike Weir and Zach Johnson, all the Masters I've watched over the years‑‑ in Ireland, you know, as well, John, the Masters, that's the golfing season started is normally the weekend of the Masters. That's when everyone gets the clubs out of the garage and dusts off the cobwebs and gets out and starts playing, because that's when the weather starts to go from 6 degrees to about 12, and it only rains a little bit rather than loads.
I always remember playing the West of Ireland was around the same time as the Masters. Yeah, that's kind of the memories I have.

Q. Now that you've won a major, do you go into the other ones feeling more relaxed, or are you putting more pressure on yourself because you want to be a multiple champion?
SHANE LOWRY: Personally, in my own head, the way I feel, I don't think it's any different. I have always put pressure on myself to do well, too much at times. I've played the U.S. Open and the PGA since The Open, and I don't think I've put too much pressure on myself playing in those. I feel like I went in a decent frame of mind. My game just hasn't been as good as I maybe would have liked it.
So yeah, I'd dearly love to win another one, there's no doubt about that. And do I think I can‑‑ it's hard to win them because the top of world golf is so strong at the minute. But if I put myself in a position, I know I can get the job done on a Sunday. But it takes a lot of stuff‑‑ it takes a lot‑‑ you need a lot to go your way to win one of these. You need to come out with your best golf.
For me, especially, you need to come out with your best golf and you need to get your breaks along the way and you need to hope that the top two or three players in the world don't bring their AGame, as well.
Yeah you need quite a bit of stuff to go your way, but I'm going to go out and give it my best like I do every week. Hopefully at some stage I get another one, but look, if I don't, it's not the end of the world, is it.

Q. You say no Irishman has won the Masters yet and you could be the first one. If you look back, what would be‑‑ is there a reason that you think it's the course? Is it too early in the season? Is maybe late in the season better?
SHANE LOWRY: Pádraig had a chance one year and obviously Rory in 2011. Back in the day, Christy Snr didn't come over and play because it was too hard to get over. Maybe he would have had a good chance. No Irishman‑‑ only one Irishman had won a major up until 2007, Fred Daly. So we've punched above our weight over the last 12, 13 years, but before that we didn't really. You never know, hopefully this year is our time.

Q. What is your practice routine for the remainder of the week? And of the holes you've played, do any stand out as different in November as opposed to April?
SHANE LOWRY: I played the front nine today, and I'll probably play a mixture of front and back tomorrow, depending on weather conditions. The forecast is not great.
I personally don't ‑‑ look, the grass is a little bit different in places, but I don't think it plays a whole lot different. That's just my opinion. We played yesterday‑‑ the greens were starting to firm up a little bit yesterday, and obviously we have rain on the way, and that's going to change.
I don't think it plays a whole lot different than it does in April. The course is in great condition, as Augusta always is, and it's kind of‑‑ for me, it's the same, anyway.

Q. You kind of had a laugh up front about the fact that we may play in rain this week. If the elements do come and play a role, what's the mental challenge of that?
SHANE LOWRY: It's just hard. Playing golf in the rain is just hard. It's not nice. No one likes doing it. Everyone jokes that I love it, but I don't. I hate it. But I'm able to deal with it because I've done it before.
For me, there's little things that I do when I'm playing in the rain, like I hit shots quicker, especially off the tee, so the ball is not getting wet and the driver is not getting wet, just stuff like that.
You just need to be careful. You need to be safe. You need to not make really silly mistakes. But it's just kind of more of managing your way around the course when the weather gets bad, as opposed to trying to do anything drastic to change.

Q. I know through the U.S. Open, you spent a long time away from your family, and you got to go home after that and it's been maybe a bit of a more normal routine. Has that helped you maybe mentally coming into this week, and who might be your plus‑one here this week?
SHANE LOWRY: Well, yeah, look, I got to go home and see my family, but I think I've only spent two weeks with my family over the last 14 or 15 weeks, which is not easy.
Yeah, my coach is here. I don't have a plus‑one. My coach is here with me, but I don't‑‑ my wife is not here or anything because our little girl is in school and just coming over and the quarantine and stuff when we go home is not doable.
Yeah, it definitely helped me going home, and to be honest, I don't think I should have done the nine or ten weeks away from home because it was too difficult in the end. But look, it was something that tried and tested and failed and won't happen again.
You know, like everything in life, you kind of live and learn and move on, and I'm playing here this week and I'm playing next week at the RSM and then I get to go home.
But they're the reason, my little girl is the reason that I get up every morning and play golf, and they are the reason that I go out and try as hard as I can to win tournaments. And it's just small sacrifices, and at the end of the day they are big sacrifices and they are sacrifices you have to make in order to do well in this game.

Q. Even as a youth, did you ever play in the rain on purpose when you didn't have to?

Q. Never?

Q. That's all I have. Proud of you.
SHANE LOWRY: Stay where I was, yeah. Never.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Best of luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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