I wonder where Shane Lowry is on the happiness scale of 1 – 10 right now? He’s just deposited north of $1.2 million dollars into his bank account in the last couple of weeks which, let’s face it, would probably tip nearly all of us right out the top of the scale. I suspect that Shane, however, is probably at about a 6, or maybe even a 7 on my arbitrary scale at the moment.
Let’s face it, we’re talking about a guy here who doesn’t have to worry about money or the rising cost of living. He may have started his professional life with a keen eye on the finances but now Shane plays for titles, major titles, and for the satisfaction of beating the best in the world on a given week. He hasn’t done that since July 2019 and for a competitor like Shane, who knows he’s in his prime, it’s been a long time between drinks.
He really fancied his chances at the Masters and admitted he hadn’t been so up for any tournament before in his life. An untimely triple bogey 6 on the par 3 4th hole on Sunday effectively put paid to his hopes – and if they were still glimmering, albeit dimly, a bogey at the 12th didn’t help his cause. At that point he bid a definite good night to the green jacket.Seven days later he was in the final group on Sunday with Harold Varner III at Hilton Head in the RBC Heritage Classic. He was one shot behind but there were ten players within a shot of the lead when that final pairing teed off. After ten holes there were still nine players within a shot of the lead and there was some serious jostling for position. When Shane birdied the 11th hole he took the outright lead and I, for one, was hoping he’d accelerate smoothly to the finish. But there was another par 3 lying in wait to scupper his chances and a double bogey on the 14th meant that for the second week in succession he finished tied third – this time with six others.
Shane will be aware that two golden opportunities have slipped by but he’s in that part of the season when majors are around every corner – and he IS playing the best golf of his life. If the genial Irishman can manage to shelve his frustrations, stay relaxed and not try to force things, I do believe there’s a 2022 major title with his name on it. The prize money is incidental – it’s the title that would shoot him to the top of the happiness scale – and I, for one, would love to see him there.
It’s only nine months since the Curtis Cup match, normally a biennial contest, was played at Conwy Golf Club in Wales, but the pandemic has skewed timetables somewhat and the next edition is to be played in seven weeks’ time at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, home state of perhaps the finest ever Curtis Cup player, Carol Semple Thompson.
Carol has an unparalleled amateur record and played 12 times in the Curtis Cup just pipping our own Mary McKenna who played for Great Britain and Ireland on nine occasions.The US has just announced their team, with five of the winning 2021 side making a reappearance. Seven of their eight players are inside the top 30 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking so it’ll be a tough task for GB&I captain Elaine Ratcliffe and her troops. There will be many anxious players over this coming weekend as they wait for the nod from the selectors – the team is to be announced on Tuesday.
One thing is assured – it will be a treat for both sets of players to play the match over the venerable Merion golf course. Here’s hoping it’ll be a keenly contested encounter with, perhaps, another away win on the cards?! If they need inspiration, remember that Justin Rose won his US Open title at Merion..
Finally, congratulations to Mel Reid, who married her partner Carly Grenfell last Saturday in Florida.Mel is a person who has suffered tragic personal loss and more ups and downs than most, often played out in the public eye, so it is great to see her well and truly at the top of the happiness scale.