Minor repairs needed as Shane Lowry prepares to hand back Claret Jug

Minor repairs needed as Shane Lowry prepares to hand back Claret Jug

Shane Lowry enjoyed a lengthy tour with the Claret Jug in 2019

He has enjoyed the rare distinction of being the reigning Open champion for two years, but Shane Lowry has vowed to return the prized Claret Jug intact despite the celebrations.

He will hand back the oldest trophy in championship golf in early July ahead of the 2021 staging of the event at Royal St George's in Kent where he will try to win it back.

“I’m going to be disappointed to be giving back the Claret Jug, but hopefully I’m only giving it back for a few days,” Lowry quipped on a Zoom conference with reporters after the USPGA Championship.

“I can assure you that it is in good shape and it will be coming back nice and shiny," he said. The Clara man admitted that the trophy did have to get sent off for minor repairs after it got bent.

He noticed the issue in an airport scanner and pointed out that it wasn't just him; 2015 champion Zach Johnson too noticed it had become bent in his possession. 

He told reporters what the Claret Jug meant to him and others, including a fan who smiled when Lowry allowed him to hold it going through an airport. 

“That’s what that trophy actually means to people that love their golf. Just to have it in my possession and being able to kind of share it with all my friends and family and other people has been just incredible," he said.

Lowry is in buoyant mood after finishing in a share of fourth place at the USPGA Championship last weekend, his best display in a major since winning the Open at Royal Portrush back in 2019. He is now hotly tipped to receive one of Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington wildcard picks this year.

Lowry and Harrington are good friends and actually played together during the final round of the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island last weekend. Lowry is just outside the top nine automatic spots for the Ryder Cup team but it is a tournament is has always felt suited to and an ambition to play in for Ireland and Europe. 

“I’m in a good position now to go ahead and make the team this year. If I play good enough or play to the best of my ability over the next few months, I could make that team," Lowry said.

"That’s my main goal, to obviously go and make it. If I don’t make it, to be so close that I kind of make his decision for him, because even though the whole rookie thing will be talked about, that I’m a rookie, I don’t feel like a rookie.

“I’ve won big tournaments. I’ve competed at the highest level. I feel like I definitely will add to the team if I’m there. I feel like I can bring a lot to the team. It’s just up to me to put my best foot forward this summer.”

The 2020 Ryder Cup (rescheduled to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic) takes place at Whistling Straits in the US in September. 

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.