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February 21, 2013

Shane Lowry


MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Shane, many, many congratulations.
SHANE LOWRY:  Thank you.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Give a quick assessment of that before we go into some questions.
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, it was a good day.  To beat the world No.1 is going to be good, but I got off to a slow start.  I was quite nervous the first few holes, handed him a couple of holes, and just managed to stay in the game.  I think he handed me 10 and then two chip‑ins in a row and made eagle on the next, which gave me the momentum to kick on and win from there.  It was a bit of an up‑and‑down match, and I'm not going to lie, we didn't play our best golf.  But that's match play, and that's the way it is.  I'm happy to get the win, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  How were you feeling over that three‑footer at the last?
SHANE LOWRY:  I was quite nervous to be honest because I had a short putt, about the exact same putt on 14 to stay 2‑up with four to play and missed that, and I thought, oh, God, here we go now.  But he handed me 15, which was nice, and then he birdied 16 and a lovely par on 17, and I managed to made a good par on the last from the bunker.

Q.  A lot of people thought that No.1 versus 16, it's very hard obviously if you're No.16.  But do you think in the end the fact that you know Rory so well helped you in terms of calming some of the nerves?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, yeah, definitely.  I said that at the start of the week when I was in here.  I said, it was much easier for me to play against Rory than it would have been playing against Tiger, purely because I just know Rory so well.  I had dinner with him last night or the night before, just stuff like that.  I know him so well, and we've been good friends for years.  That was quite easy.  It was quite easy that way, but still quite nerve racking on the first tee.  I said to my caddie walking down one of the holes, a bit of a circus.  The amount of people inside the ropes is not what I'm used to.  I'm just thrilled to get the win.

Q.  Do you think on the other side of it, did it help that you‑‑
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, I remember, I think it was a bit of a banana skin for him it ended up being.  It was always going to be tough for him being the world No.1 no matter who he plays against, no matter if it's me or anyone else.  Because anyone going out to play against Rory is going out to beat him because he's the best.  Thankfully I came out on the right side of it today.

Q.  When you holed the chip there, what did that do for the momentum of everything?  And I'm also curious if you found as you led and hung around later and later in the match if you felt the fans kind of came to your side a little bit?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, I mean, the crowd always like the underdog, don't they?  Yeah, I got a few cheers towards the end, more than I got on the first few holes.  Those chip‑ins on 12 and‑‑ 11 and 12 were massive, and they gave me the momentum to go on and win the match.

Q.  You said you had dinner with him Tuesday night?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, we were supposed to play Wednesday and we had dinner Tuesday night.

Q.  Did you talk about the match?
SHANE LOWRY:  No, we were just‑‑ we're friends at the end of the day.  It's only a game of golf.  It's not life or death.  We weren't going into battle.  It was just a normal dinner, normal conversations.

Q.  He did say that the chatter got less and less as the match went on today.
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, it did.  I tried to keep it that way.  I tried to‑‑ I said to Darren, my caddie, walking down 11 or 12, he's not liking this one bit.  He's the one under pressure, I've got nothing to lose, so let's have a go from here.  I just tried to focus on my game and focus on one shot at a time.  At the end of the day it's a huge day for me.  It's a bigger win for me than it would have been for him.

Q.  Who picked up the check Tuesday?  And how confident were you that you guys would get done today?
SHANE LOWRY:  I think there was about nine of us there and we had a game of country club roulette.  I think a couple of the caddies lost, which was nice.

Q.  How confident were you that you guys would beat darkness?
SHANE LOWRY:  I didn't really think about it until about 16 or 17 and I thought it was getting quite dark.  I knew if we were going to 19, we'd have to come back tomorrow, which would have been a bit of a pain.  But thankfully I got the match done before that.

Q.  Could I ask you, the chip on 17, that to me looked like a real pressure shot.  It was downhill, green running away from you, bunker the other side.  It looked like if you hadn't got it perfect, you could have gone 10, 12 feet past?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, it was a very difficult chip shot.  But the minute I got up to the ball, I seen where I wanted to land it, and I managed to execute it perfectly, which was nice.  I definitely didn't want to have a putt to stay 1‑up going down 18, so it was nice not to give up that hole.

Q.  You said Tuesday that a win today would be one of the great stories of your career.  Now that it's happened, how does it‑‑
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, it's definitely a day I'm going to remember.  And I will, I'm sure, after a few weeks or a couple of months I will slag Rory over it.  But at the end of the day, it's only the first round.  I've got a match tomorrow I need to focus on.  As I said earlier, I'm not here to make up the numbers, I'm here to do well, and I'm looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and getting down to business and hopefully getting another win under my belt.

Q.  Were you surprised at all by how uneven his play seemed to be, particularly on the back side?
SHANE LOWRY:  Yeah, he did hit a few ropey shots today coming in.  But I mean, everyone hits bad shots at the end of the day.  He's only human.  There's not much more I can say about that.

Q.  When you were in here the other day talking about what a big deal this would be if you won, it was almost as if you were imagining it would happen.  How do the two things compare, your imagination the other day when you were describing it and how you feel now?
SHANE LOWRY:  It's probably better than I imagined the other day.  It's a great feeling.  But at the end of the day, as I said, it's only the first round.  I've not conquered and done it yet, I've only beaten one player, and I'm here to beat more.

Q.  Did you get the sense from Rory that‑‑ obviously you took the momentum there with the eagle, the two chip‑ins and the eagle, did you get the sense that he was realizing that this wasn't going to be easy for him and it was getting‑‑ the pressure was building on him?
SHANE LOWRY:  I mean, at the end I just tried to stay in the present.  I tried to play one shot at a time.  I knew he was going to be under pressure coming down the stretch, especially when I was a couple up.  That's why I was quite annoyed at myself that I handed him 14.  I can't really afford to do that against him, what I thought.
But he obviously felt the pressure.  I mean, everyone feels the pressure.  It's the world match play at the end of the day, and everyone that's here deserves to be here, and no one is going to be an easy match.

Q.  How did the nerves feel compared coming down the 18th to the Irish Open against Robert Rock in that playoff?
SHANE LOWRY:  I mean, it's not as big as that I don't think.  I mean, I was quite nervous, but I stayed calm and I stayed in the present and managed to hit what I thought was a decent tee shot on the last.  I'd like to see that back.  I don't know how I finished in the bunker.  I managed to hit‑‑ I didn't think I could get 7‑iron out of the bunker, but I still went for it anyway because I knew I needed to make par.  I played a lovely bunker shot.  He nearly holed his, which was nice, and managed to knock that three‑footer in, which was even better and felt great.

Q.  There's bound to be a lot more questions asked now about Rory's change of clubs to Nike and all the rest of it.  Do you think that's fair criticism or how do you see that?
SHANE LOWRY:  I mean, that's not for me to comment on to be honest.  I use Cleveland Golf.  I can't tell you what the Nike clubs are like.  As I said, it's not for me to comment on really.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Shane, many congratulations again.  Well done.

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