WHILE Tiger Woods' stunning victory captured the world's golfing attention on Sunday, Shane Lowry was left to reflect on what might have been as his interest in the US Masters in Augusta had ended abruptly on Friday.
Like most of his colleagues, Lowry was magmanious in his praise for Tiger Woods on Sunday evening, writing on social media: “This man changed the game years ago and has again today. The reason I start playing the game and the reason we love it so much. The greatest comeback and the greatest sporting moment of all time.”
It was Woods' 15th major title, 5th Masters and a success that many never envisaged after a host of phsyical and personal problems had reduced him to a shadow of his former self before he began to stage a sensational recovery last year.
For Lowry, however, the Masters will have left a bitter after taste. He had been thrilled to make the field having battled his way into the top fifty earlier in the year with a super win at the Abu Dhabi Championship. He had to work hard to stay in the top fifty and hold onto his Masters place and he travelled to Augusta hopeful of making a real impact at golf's most iconic tournament for the first time.
His record at the Masters has not been great. He has competed there four times, has made the cut just once, in 2016, and has shot just one sub par round there, also in 2016.
Unfortunately, his dreams effectively went up in smoke in Thursday's opening round as a six over 78 left him down the leaderboard and floundering for a life buoy. A wayward drive resulted in a bogey 5 at the first but a birdie three at the third steadied the ship and for the next three holes, the Clara man motored okay as he had successive pars.
Then it all began to go wrong. He bogeyed 7 and 9 and followed up with bogeys on 10, 12, 13 and 16 for that six over total. Lowry made no attempt to hide his frustration after the round.
“It was kind of like a comedy of errors around the middle of the round. I just kept on making mistake after mistake,” he told reporters.
He added: “It is the hardest course in the world when it is getting away from you because you can’t see yourself, hitting good shots to 30 feet and you have a putt with 10 feet of break. Look, I tried my best. I can’t put my finger on it right now but I just have to go out tomorrow and shoot a good score and see what happens.”
“I felt I was going great in practice when I was going out there it just didn’t happen. Everyone talks about the Masters to you . . . it almost gets annoying when you are on the border of getting in and people annoying you about it.
“Then you come here and shoot 78 in the first round and you wonder, ‘what’s the point of being here?’ I think I put too much pressure on myself to get here and then I put too much pressure on myself when I get here to try and do well. It is all internal in my own head, so I just need to relax and let the golf take care of itself.”
Lowry dug deep on Friday to try and rescue it but he needed a low sub par round and despite playing some very good golf, this did not emerge. Instead he had a one over 73, hitting four bogeys and three birdies as his tournament ended.
It leaves him needing to get results in the coming weeks as he bids to stay in the top fifty and yield all the benefits that brings. On Monday, he was ranked 50th in the world but another missed cut could put him down a couple of places as the season swings into oits peak phase.