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February 19, 2013

Shane Lowry


MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Shane, welcome to the WGC Accenture Match Play.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Give us your thoughts on a pretty easy day ahead of you tomorrow.
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, it's going to be‑‑ it's going to be quite exciting.  I've known Rory for quite a long time now.  Really looking forward to getting out there.  It's obviously going to be a very difficult match.  He's the best golfer in the world at the minute and has been for the last few years.  But for me to be able to go out and play against the best golfer in the world, no matter who it is, is going to be quite exciting and it's going to be a good test of my game.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Tell us a little bit about your relationship with Rory.
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, we go way back maybe eight or ten years.  I've known Rory since he was a little kid, although he's not much older now.  We played amateur golf together.  I've known him‑‑ he was there when I turned pro, when I won the Irish Open.  He's given me some great advice over the last few years.  He's always there if I ever need anything.
So he's a good friend of mine.  And when we're playing the same tournaments, we normally do dinner together at night or something like that, maybe do a practice round, but obviously not this week.  So yeah, I've known him quite well the last number of years, and we get on really well together.

Q.  You say he's given you some advice over the years.  What sticks out most in your mind?
SHANE LOWRY:  I remember he was the first one to tell me to turn pro after I won the Irish Open.  Everyone was trying to get me to stay amateur, but I think Rory‑‑ if Rory had his way, he would have turned pro earlier.  I think that was some good advice.  He's just been there if I ever neededhim.  Playing practice rounds with one of the best golfers in the world, he doesn't really need to tell you anything, you just learn from watching him and watching what he does.  That's really it.

Q.  Rory said that when you guys were on the European team championships together, who would have thought you would have wound up here.  Did the career path go the way you thought for both of you?
SHANE LOWRY:  To be honest, I've always thought that Rory was going to be one of the best golfers, if not the best golfer, in the world at some stage.  Growing up, he was always the best in his age group, always the best in age groups, as well.  Did I think I'd be here playing against the world number 1?  I don't know if I knew I was good enough to turn pro and compete.  I didn't know how good I was going to be.  I still don't know how good I'm going to be.  I'm just taking one day at a time and one shot at a time and trying to become the best golfer I can be.

Q.  Do you get a bit of a buzz when you think about what's happened to you here and that you're getting ready to play Rory?  Or are you generally pretty calm about the whole thing?
SHANE LOWRY:  I'm actually quite calm.  I'm really buzzing, really looking forward to it.  As I said before, going out, playing against the best golfer in the world, you can't help but get yourself up for it.  It's a really exciting time for me and for everyone involved with me, my team, my coach, my family, everyone like that.  Everyone is quite excited back home, as well.  Really looking forward to getting out there tomorrow, and should be a laugh, as well, regardless of what happens.

Q.  Did you and Rory in any Irish match play things, did you have any matches?
SHANE LOWRY:  Never played against him, no, never.

Q.  And in the banter stakes leading up to this, who's got a one‑hole lead?
SHANE LOWRY:  We haven't really spoken much.  I was just talking to him in the locker room.  I've seen him a couple of times.  It's just the normal chitchat.  I'm not trying to play any mind games, and I assume he's not, either.  We just get out and the best golfer will win on the day, I suppose.

Q.  What kind of advantages do you think you might have against Rory?  Obviously you know his game pretty well and have known him for years.  Do you think you'll have any advantages?
SHANE LOWRY:  I don't think anyone can have any advantages against Rory to be honest.  I don't think I have any advantages.  I think I just have to go out and play my best golf, try and play my best golf, try and play as good a golf as I can and see where that leaves me tomorrow afternoon.  Rory has obviously had some time off now, and I haven't played well at the start of the year, so it'll be interesting to see what way the match goes tomorrow.  But as I say, I'm really looking forward to it, and no, I don't think there's any advantage to be gotten against Rory.

Q.  Is there an advantage to growing up being the son of an Irish sporting hero?
SHANE LOWRY:  I mean, my dad‑‑ yeah, I'm from quite a competitive family, like they're all‑‑ I've got a sporting background, and they're all quite competitive.  So I'm a very competitive person myself.  I'll definitely be going out there fighting for this match tomorrow, and I'll be gunning to try and beat him.  I think if I beat Rory tomorrow, it would be one of the great stories of my career so far.  I've got nothing to lose.

Q.  If you beat him tomorrow, will you celebrate the way you did at the Irish Open?
SHANE LOWRY:  No, it's only the first round (laughing).  Maybe Sunday, but no, definitely not.

Q.  Do you have any recollections of that?
SHANE LOWRY:  I just seen a picture last night, actually, of Rory spraying me with champagne.  I don't have any recollections of the Irish Open now.  It's a long time ago.  No, I can't remember much of what happened that weekend.  I just remember it was a great weekend in my life.

Q.  And lastly, how did you get going in golf, or why golf for you?
SHANE LOWRY:  I played a little game called pitch and putt.  It was like a little par‑3 game when I was younger, and then my uncle started bringing me to play golf, and just started really enjoying it, and kept playing, and I was actually quite late.  I didn't become good at golf until quite late, until I was maybe 16, 17, 18 sort of thing.
You know, it wasn't until then when I realized I wanted to turn pro and wanted to become a professional golfer.  That was it.  I suppose I was 12, 13 when I started playing golf seriously, so it was actually quite late, when you see kids now, kids eight, nine, ten are quite good.

Q.  Or two in Rory's case.
SHANE LOWRY:  Two, yeah.

Q.  You mentioned family and friends and fans back home.  Do you feel any pressure to live up to their expectations, or do you feel more support from them?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, it's more support.  The thing is with this match I've got tomorrow, I don't think anyone‑‑ well, there's not many people expecting me to win, so I've not got really much to lose.  So if I lose tomorrow, I mean, people will just be happy for me that I'm here, and if I win, it's going to be one of the good days of my career so far.
As I said, I'm just going to go out there all guns blazing and hopefully I can get that victory.

Q.  You said putting pressure on yourself upset you obviously in the first couple of tournaments of the year, and tomorrow could be a big day for you in terms of ranking and everything else that's going on.  What kind of coping mechanisms have you got to get over that tomorrow and just relax?
SHANE LOWRY:  I don't know to be honest.  It's obviously going to be a bit nerve racking righting off, but in golf if you're not nervous, you're not human.  So I'm going to be nervous and I'm going to be trying to win, but I'm not going to try too hard.  That's when I don't play well.  I'm just going to go out and enjoy every minute of it.
I spoke‑‑ I done a quick session with Enda McNulty last week before I come out here, and I really just have to get back to enjoying my golf.  I mean, I'm here playing against the world No.1 in the World Golf Championship.  What more do you want?  What's not to enjoy about it?

Q.  Do you have a sense of a great well of support for you back home in Ireland?  I know you're very attached to their football team.  Are a lot of people back home rooting for you big time?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, I've been in touch with my parents over the last few days, and they said the whole place is really looking forward to tomorrow evening.  I think there'll be a lot of people watching back home.  I do have a lot of support as always.  I have a lot of support week in and week out on the Tour when I'm playing.  Everyone has become big golf watchers back home.  Yeah, I have a lot of support back there, and hopefully I can give them something to cheer about tomorrow evening.

Q.  Where were you the week of, I guess, Pebble Beach over here when the final ranking was being played out?  There was so much that had to happen for you to get in before we knew Snedeker was going to withdraw.
SHANE LOWRY:  I was at home with my friends, and I wasn't watching the golf but I was getting text updates and I was following Brian on Twitter, was keeping me up to date.  So I knew when‑‑ what's that guy's name, birdied the last?  He birdied the last hole from the beach, I think, in Pebble, so I suppose it was meant to be, one of those things.  That putt just puked in the front door, as well.  I'm lucky to be here, which is a big thing, as well.

Q.  Who puked?
SHANE LOWRY:  The putt just stuck in the front door, sorry.

Q.  And then go forward a week.  Was there any part of you that cared what Freddie Jacobson did at Riviera, any difference in you playing Rory or playing Tiger?
SHANE LOWRY:  Well, I sort of was gearing up to play Rory, and then Snedeker pulled out, and I was like, right, I've got to play Tiger now, which I didn't know what to make of because obviously I've never met Tiger and Tiger has been a hero of mine.
Then towards the end of the week I knew Freddie started well in Riviera and he needed top 30 or something like that.
From Friday onwards I knew I was going to be playing Rory.  But Tiger would have been quite daunting, but I think because I know Rory so well, not that it's going to be an easier match for me, it's going to be easier to stand on that first tee and look Rory in the face and know that I've got a good chance of beating him.

Q.  What makes the bigger headlines in Ireland tomorrow, you winning or Rory winning?
SHANE LOWRY:  I think if I win, yeah, it'll be pretty big back home, because no one is expecting me to win.

Q.  Can I ask you about, we listened to Rory a little bit earlier, and he talked about the hang time of the ball, getting it a little higher, and maybe hanging up in the air a little bit longer, which may or may not be an advantage out here tomorrow.  Do you see the trajectory of your golf ball being a little bit lower being an advantage?
SHANE LOWRY:  I think judging by the weather, it's going to help to be a little bit lower tomorrow.  I think the weather is not supposed to be too good tomorrow, which I don't particularly mind.  It's supposed to be quite windy, maybe a bit wet.  I've been playing in that for the last couple of weeks, so I'm actually quite used to it.
No, but I think in match play it's whoever holes the putts is the key, really.  I think from 15 feet and in is going to be key tomorrow, so if I can hole a few putts at the right time and put Rory under some pressure, that's going to be key for me.

Q.  (No microphone.)
SHANE LOWRY:  I mean, it doesn't really‑‑ I don't think it really matters, does it.  I think it's going to be whoever holes the putts tomorrow is going to be key.

Q.  I'm sure the Irish Open stands out big, but how important was Portugal for you last year?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, it was huge.  Obviously I won the Irish Open, and then that was over nearly four years ago now.  And to win my first event as a professional was huge for me, and it gave me a great deal of self‑belief and confidence that I needed to kick on, and I feel like I can kick on now and become a top 50 in the world player, not even top 50, top 30, top 20, and compete in these big tournaments.
You know, I do have a lot of self‑belief and I believe in my own ability and am comfortable in myself.  That just gave me that extra bit that I think I need to kick on now.

Q.  If somebody were looking for similarities between you and Rory, what would they be?
SHANE LOWRY:  I used to have curly hair.  (Laughter.)
I don't think there's many, to be honest.  I actually don't know if there's any.  He plays golf.  (Laughter.)
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  I think we'll leave on that, cheers.  Thanks for joining us.  Good luck this week.

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